Sisowath Doung Chanto
Birth Place: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Occupation: Graduate Student
Major: Political Science
Surviving Family Member(s):
1. Father deceased
(executed by the Khmer Rouge)
2. Mother residing in Cambodia.
3. Three sisters. One is residing in Cambodia.
My father was one of the million victims who were killed by the Khmer Rouge genocide politics. Up to this today I cannot comprehend the reason for the execution of my father and other millions of my fellow country men. My father was not a man of politics nor was he a criminal by any means. As a far as I can remember, he was a family man like any other Cambodian men in the country. He was a loving and caring father. A great protector and provider for his family and for those worked in his shipping company. He was a patriotic man. He did not abandon Cambodia during the 1970-75 civil war because he wished to devoted his energy and resource for the reconstruction of the country after the war. Unfortunately, his patriotism was not greeted with gratitude but it was received by punishment then execution.
The brutality of his punishment was so extreme that even the executioner himself could not speak of it without shock. My mother got the chance to find the executioner in 1985 eight year after my father's execution. According to this Khmer Rouge cadre, named Met Chan, who was personally involved with the interrogation of my father described ways which he and his comrades punished my father.
From the time they took my father out of our hut, he was kicked, dragged and beaten all the way to the killing site. Before he was executed he was cuffed in chains along with three other men and was confined in a basement inside an abandoned temple. He went without food for several days because Khmer Rouge cadres knew that he was going to be killed anyway before they finally decided to take him to the grave. His face was swollen with bruises from the beating. His back and ribs were broken by the constant beating by the young Khmer Rouge Cadres. The beating was so severe that it paralyzed his speech and consciousness. By this time, he was just lying on the floor unable to move or ask for mercy. According to Met Chan, his last words were calling for his wife, son and daughter.
I guessed he was thinking about his family even though he was dying.
Two days after the interrogation, they took him to the killing ground. He was hit with a metal rod three times at the back of the head. Whether he died immediately from the blows was not mentioned by Met Chan. My Mother did not wish to know any more. My father Sisowath Doung Kara was executed on July 1978 just five months before the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and liberated it from the Khmer Rouge.
I am one of the many voices speaking out atrocity of the Khmer Rouge's genocide politics.
There are millions of Cambodians who lost their immediate family members and loved ones. The Khmer Rouge regime not only traumatized millions of Cambodians' psychological function but it created a permanent scare in every Cambodian citizens. We lost so much. The greatest lost of all were those whose resources and capacities to advance our social development. A lot of talented individuals died because some defected semi- intellectuals such as Pol Pot and Ieng Sary were too incompetent to deal with social development. However, the essence of this testimony is not seeking sympathetic sentiments. It is a reminder of what happened to our society in the last 20 years. The Khmer Rouge legacy should not be neglected or overlooked because it was the past. It should be a monumental lesson for our future generation. Such an atrocity should never be allowed to reoccur. But it should never be forgotten.
In the memory of those who endured and survived the Cambodian Holocaust.