The pastor and the monster

Christopher LaPel’s father was a Brahman priest serving Cambodia’s king in his role as the earthly incarnation of the god Vishnu. Imagine the shock and horror, therefore, when one evening at dinner he saw a cross hanging around his son’s neck: “One day while our family had supper …  I…

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The Executioners

Here is the big question: how and why did a Buddhist nation produce one of the 20th century’s worst genocides, and one which is marked by so many horrific instances of cruelty and savage violence? A whole chapter in my book Spirit Worlds is devoted to this and for my…

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Pheng’s escape: A Khmer Rouge ghost story

When we come to the place there are twenty of us, they have our names. The chief of the Pol Pot talks to us, he says the Organisation will provide us each a white suit today. I know this means a cloth for the dead. They start to call us in to the room, one at a time. They don’t want anyone to see, they not want anyone to know. They kill with the ax and the knife.

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A Village Bus Trip to the ECCC

The Extraordinary Chambers of the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) is the venue where leaders of the Khmer Rouge are tried for crimes against humanity and it has an outreach program that brings villagers from all over Cambodia to Phnom Penh to view the proceedings. A few weeks ago two buses…

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Cambodia: The Chomsky Problem

Here in Cambodia, Noam Chomsky is without a doubt the guy everybody loves to hate. In expat circles, most have never read either his books, articles or reviews, but they certainly know of him as an apologist for the Khmer Rouge. Chomsky has indeed been the target of numerous attack…

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Historical Revisionism and the Contrarian Left: Counterpunch and the Case of Cambodia

“The noble title of dissident must be earned rather than claimed.” “Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence” – Christopher Hitchens Alexander Cockburn and Christopher Hitchens are gone. Contrarianism is alive, but whether it is well is an entirely different matter. The Republican party’s knee-jerk contrarianism seems poised to lose them an…

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