Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it", Edmund Burke, Statesman
Today, January 7th, 2014, marks 35 years since Cambodia became free from the Khmer Rouge nightmare. This day commemorates when Vietnamese troops seized Phnom Penh from the Khmer Rouge. For three years, eight months and twenty days, millions of Cambodians suffered by starvation, disease, and lived under the constant threat of execution. It is estimated that nearly 2 million Cambodians perished under the bloody regime. For Cambodians, it is a day to reflect on where the country was over 35 years ago and for the survivors to remember the nightmare they lived.
When the Vietnamese took over the capital that day, most Cambodians, like my family, were not there to see it. Instead, we were hiding deep in the woods of Battambang in northwestern Cambodia. We were struggling to survive, unaware that freedom was near. I interviewed my mother and asked her to tell me how the nightmare started and how it finally ended. This is what she recalls...