The Killing Fields
1984, Britain, Roland Joffe
We’ve all seen this epic movie of the Cambodian genocide, but we should watch it again (and again) if only to remind ourselves that all Pol Pot was doing was following the teachings of Chairman Mao. Haing S. Ngor, the Cambodian doctor who won an Oscar playing Dith Pran in the film wrote in his autobiography: “Except for their dark skins, everything about the Khmer Rouge was alien, from China. They had borrowed their ideology from Mao… like the concept of the Great Leap Forward. Sending the intellectuals to the countryside to learn from the peasants was an idea of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Their AK-47s and their olive green caps and their trucks were Chinese. Even the music they played from the loudspeakers was Chinese, with Khmer words.
Director Roland Joffé, when discussing Dith Pran’s escape from the Khmer Rouge death camp, made this sage observation: “and yet there’s always a chance of life… and the strength that Haing had, that Dith had, was that they took risks. They weren’t victims.” Its something all Tibetans should ponder. Being a victim is not just a question of circumstance or history, but also of choice.
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