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Disowning Morris

The Editor,

We, the undersigned Cambodia scholars and specialists, wish

to express our concern at Stephen J. Morris' campaign against Professor Ben

Kiernan of Yale University and against Kiernan's leadership of the Cambodian

Genocide Program, funded by the US Department of State.

Mr. Morris'

assault distorts the record to suit his own political agenda. Prof. Kiernan's

detailed responses to Mr. Morris documents these misrepresentations (Wall Street

Journal, April 28 and May 30, 1995). It is true that like many anti-war

activists and observers seared by the experience of misleading propaganda during

the Vietnam War, Kiernan in his early twenties initially saw the guerrillas as

offering hope for positive change, though even then he was hardly uncritical of

the Khmer Rouge. But in 1978 he realized his error and had the courage to

acknowledge it in print.

Since 1978, Kiernan has devoted his career to

documenting the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Far from being an apologist for Pol

Pot, Prof. Kiernan has been an outspoken and untiring opponent of the Khmer

Rouge for seventeen years. (During much of that period, Mr. Morris supported a

coalition government-in-exile which was dominated by the Khmer Rouge).


have full confidence in Prof. Kiernan's integrity, professional scholarship, and

ability to carry out the important work of the Cambodian Genocide Program. He is

a first-rate historian and an excellent choice for the State Department


Mr Morris claims, bizarrely, that Prof. Kiernan is "repugnant to

better Cambodia scholars in the West" (Asian Wall Street Journal, May 13, 1995),

and that "the respected scholars of modern Cambodian history... do not respect

Mr Kiernan's current work" (Wall Street Journal, May 15, 1995).

As Cambodia studies is a small field, and we and our students comprise the

majority who publish in the field, we are at a loss to imagine which "scholars"

Mr Morris might mean. We are certainly not among them, although Mr. Morris has

not been above invoking names without permission. We totally dissociate

ourselves from Stephen J. Morris.

  1. Eileen Blumenthal, Professor of Theater, Rutgers University
  2. Chanthou Boua, Author: Children of the Killing Fields.
  3. Frederick Z. Brown, Author: Second Chance: The United States and

    Indochina in the 1990s.

  4. Nayan Chanda, Author: Brother Enemy.
  5. David Chandler, Professor of History, Monash University, Australia

    and Author: The Tragedy of Cambodian History.

  6. Kenton J. Clymer, Chairman, History Department, University of Texas

    at El Paso.

  7. Sara Colm, former Managing Editor, Phnom Penh Post.
  8. Dith Pran, Cambodian holocaust survivor.
  9. May Ebihara, Professor of Anthropology, City University of New


  10. Craig Etcheson, Author: The Rise and Demise of Democratic


  11. Lindsay French, Postdoctoral Fellow, East-West Center,


  12. Kate G. Frieson, Assistant Professor, Pacific and Asian Studies,

    University of Victoria, Canada.

  13. Linchy Higham, Cambodian holocaust survivor.
  14. Helen Jarvis, Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales
  15. Raoul Jennar, Director, Centre Europée de Recherches sur


  16. Theanvy Kuoch, Cambodian holocaust survivor.
  17. Judy Ledgerwood, Research Fellow, East-West Center, Hawaii.
  18. Laura McGrew, Cambodia Project Director, International Human Rights

    Law Group.

  19. Thida Buth Man, Cambodian holocaust survivor and co-Author: To

    Destroy You is No Loss.

  20. John Marston, Coordinator, Khmer Language, S.E. Asian Studies Summer

    Institute, University of Wisconsin.

  21. Milton E. Osborne, Author: Sihanouk: Prince of Light, Prince of


  22. Paul Quinn-Judge, Far Eastern Economic Review correspondent, Bangkok,


  23. Kelvin Rowley, Senior Lecturer, International and Political Studies,

    Swinburne University of Technology, Australia and co-Author: Red Brotherhood at


  24. Mary F. Scully, R.N.C.S., Director, Khmer Health Advocates.
  25. Toni Shapiro, Postdoctoral Fellow, East-West Center, Hawaii.
  26. Michael Vickery, Associate Professor of History, University Sains

    Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.



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