I had some Cambodian friends at graduate school in Japan. Friendly, kind people despite growing up in hell. They also gave me great insight into the blinding power of nationalism.
My two Cambodian friends, educated urbane people, referred to the time after the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia as when they were a Vietnamese colony.
Another Cambodian, who no one liked, when he annoyed his Vietnamese class mates too much, they would say, “Remember 1979.” This taunt would throw this Cambodian into a fit of nationalist pique. He raged against the invasion.
If any country would have benefited from an invasion from hell, it would have been Cambodia under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge by 1979. At least, the Devil waits for you to die before he torments you.
Having an academic background as a political and international relations student, I still feel like there are many more history books I need to read to understand what has happened to my country. Every period seems to be well described in separate books and one must go around and read all those books to connect the dots and understand the whole picture of Cambodia’s historical puzzle.
I took a very intensive history course when I was in university. I read many books about Cambodia’s ancient history; however, there seem to be not enough books portraying Cambodia’s contemporary history after the Khmer Rouge. As a younger generation who were born in 1990, I grew up witnessing changes in Cambodia socially and politically. For that matter, I am my own book regarding the period I am living in. On the other hand, there’s a hole in my knowledge which is the period…
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