Years of violence
A new book detailing the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge era was launched yesterday in Phnom Penh, even as the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party are engaged in a war of words over infamous torture centre Toul Sleng.
The book – titled The Death Regime – features a picture of Tuol Sleng on its cover and details the account of Long Kem, a cadet officer for an engineering division during the Lon Nol regime.
Kem was among those marched out during the exodus of Phnom Penh and became chief of cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the Khmer Rouge regime fell in 1979.
He is currently Cambodia’s ambassador to Kuwait.
Like other survivors, his account is one that is riddled with loss – Kem’s brother Lengsreung perished because of the harsh conditions they had to endure.
While Kem was not present at the book launch held yesterday at the Club of Cambodian Journalists, the book’s editor, Chhay Sophal, editor-in-chief of the Cambodia News website, told reporters that the book was a “priceless” account.
“This book is a special and rare document because it was written by a [local] survivor,” he said. “So far, many of the books about the regime have been written by foreigners.”
The Death Regime was published last month and 6,000 copies in both Khmer and English are currently on sale at bookstores.