IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER - Nâng Thet Borey 1931-2008
 


POWER IS IN THE VOICE!
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 Ideologies: "Poverty is next to ignorance; it is a threat to national security." -Unknown
 confronting the past
 By Vorak Ny
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UNHCR PROCESSING CENTER


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Now that I am a father myself and be able to understand the difficulty of overcoming the lost, separation and responsibility, as an extraordinary gift in life, and affections that I presume to have inherited the characteristics of them all. For the time being, I shall cherish and thank for the father he has been.

Fate has been kind to Cambodia, but costly, considering the numbers: thirty years of war, millions killed. Our modern history has been one of ongoing tragedy and the fallout has been our national sadness; the senseless loss of life will be felt for generations to come. But I hope history will teach us some lessons.

Indeed, the Khmer Rouge regime marked a turning point for all of us, and change requires commitment and sacrifice. We can only make the changes needed if our consciences are clear and we have a sense of unity as a nation.

Cambodia has fundamentally changed since April 17 brought a permanent catastrophe to the nation. I also understand those not wanting to hear and be reminded of our country's bitter past, because I too woke up with a feeling of denial: that April 17th never took place. How can this day be remembered? As a Cambodian, I must not forget. Part of me died along with it, systematically murdered by the Khmer Rouge.

 

Most nations denounce war as a way of settling things. For Cambodians, more time must pass. Meanwhile, we can begin to form our own judgments through the experiences of all pasts: ours and those of others.

I hope the result will give each of us clear guidance that might become a model for future Cambodians.

With this, I can honestly say that the Cambodian people stand at the dawn of a new era, with unprecedented opportunities and the rebirth of idealism in each and every individual. I want nothing more than to see this country prosper and united in peace.


Nang Thet Borey (1931-2008)

Some people were forced to collect themselves and moved on with life. But no one was excluded from pain; those survived the pain swallowed it.

One of the legacies of war and armed conflict in my time is the proportion of the population who lost one or more of their siblings. Further, most of them did not leave home voluntarily and died in terrible and never fully-explained circumstances.

My mother turned 81 years old this year; she is physically and emotionally exhausted. Her voice is faltering and her eyes blurring. She sat listening patiently and looking at the pictures of her children, died miserably, and of the places she once lived.

I'm sure that all these pictures aroused both good and bad memories of her experiences. I realized that she is trying to come to terms with all her losses and tragedies, and I know that she is halfway there.

In Kampong Cham, the details of how my two sisters were murdered remain hidden. The questions are endless and will forever remain unanswered. People claimed to have heard loud revolutionary music played in Kampong Cham when executions were carried out.


Phnom Penh Airport 2005

Everyone�s life is a story in itself. And every one of those stories tells of constant changes. My own life is no exception. As a Cambodian, I'm trying to understand Cambodia, which always seemed lost and remains obscure for the most part.

After decades of living in America, it is still a comfort when I�m thinking of those stories and read them to remind me of my past and my future, which is now shaped by it.

During my years in the US, I have been working on a book project. I started writing it for my family. Most of it draws heavily on my memories; they are so personal that I often can't t finish a paragraph for days. In many ways, it afflicts my life. I think best with paper and pen, and then the Laptop came along. As my work progresses, I think of others, like those died without having their voices heard and stories told. In certain ways, they had much less freedom.

Writing this book about Cambodia is a unique challenge to both the heart and mind. You can read it in the way you understand life. For those who lived through Cambodia�s conflicts and endured the Khmer Rouge, it can help remind us now and then to tell the world of what had occurred and not to repeat this act.

I have narrowed the title of this book to �The Bare-Hands Doctrine, 1975 The Odd Year.� It may be controversial, but it focuses essentially on all Cambodians living globally as one. Also Read: To My Mother With Love

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About the Author: Vorak, Ny is the founder of www.khmerwriter.com. A survivor of Democratic Kampuchea and a reader of Searching for the truth

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