Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Teaching Students about the Khmer Rouge

On Monday, the first trial of a Khmer Rouge official began. The defendent Kaing Guek Eav--known as Duch--admitted ordering and taking part in systematic torture that would sometimes last for days. He confessed to his role in the Khmer Rouge's campaign that resulted in the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians--over 20% of the country's population.

What resources are available to help you teach your students about the Khmer Rouge?

Often, hearing and reading the personal stories of survivors can have an even greater impact on students than the grim statistics. In First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, Loung Ung tells of her experience as a young girl:

"This is a story of survival: my own and my family's. Though these events constitute my experience, my story mirrors that of millions of Cambodians. If you had been living in Cambodia during this period, this would be your story too."
Ms. Ung speaks regularly at schools and colleges. Let us know if you would like to have her visit your school. Meanwhile, take a look at the teaching guide, and order an examination copy to consider for your class.

Yale University's award-winning Cambodian Genocide Program is a powerful resource--giving teachers and students access to tribunal news, databases, photographs, maps, and other important information.

PBS has teaching materials to help you incorporate the recent trials into your curriculum.

For a recap of the trial and an interview with Loung Ung, visit PBS News Hour.

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