Virtually since the dawn of our lives, we have been away from our homeland, Kampuchea.
We miss our beautiful country that our parents describe in glowing words to us. Their
words give us beautiful images of Angkor Wat, museums, the land, the rivers, and
the trees. All of this makes us sit back and dream far away deep in our hearts and
our souls that "there is no place like home." Yes! There is no place like
home, but our dreams have always ended up with an insurmountable obstacle of war
We are Khmer youth born in Cambodia during the holocaust caused by the Pol Pot regime.
Luckily enough we survived through the kindness and strength of our parents and our
friends. But many Khmer people were not as fortunate as we were. Many died due to
starvation, brutal killing, land mines, and lack of medicine. We have seen everything
that has happened during this period of our lives.
Today in 1993, we have resettled in this strange new country, the United States of
America. So far, life has treated us very kindly and peacefully. But as for our parents,
they have not adapted well to this new culture. They feel frustrated with this new
and more modern system of living. Living here for them is an everyday struggle to
survive. As for us we have everything that we ever wanted such as peace in our home,
and peace in our lives, but one thing we have never had is to see Peace & Loving
in our Homeland.
After all these years living in the United States we have no direct contact whatever
The only sources of information that we find are from the newspapers, magazines,
and the television news. Everytime we watch or read the news, there are only disappointments
from seeing or hearing about Kampuchea, such as Khmer fighting against Khmer, Khmer
leaders against Khmer leaders. And the result from all of this is that people are
getting killed, disabled, and left homeless without food. One question that always
tears at our hearts is "WHY?" Why must this happen to Khmer people? For
so long Khmer have been struggling and fighting for peace and serenity. We long for
the Khmer people to lay down their arms and fight no more.
The election to choose new leadership to govern Kampuchea has just ended. This should
be the new beginning for Khmer people to rebuild their strength and rebuild their
country to become a new reality. After all the disappointment that we have heard
from the past, this news makes us proud that Khmer people will soon recover from
the devastation that almost destroyed our country.
We are praying and hoping that those of you who have been elected will lead our country
to a brighter and more enlightened future for Khmer people, for generations to come.
We understand that being a leader and taking responsibility is not easy, but we hope
that you would pledge that as new leaders you demonstrate compassion, love, and care
for Khmer society. We beg you not to take power into your own hands for your own
personal gratification but please let others take part in the rebuilding our country.
Khmer have suffered long enough, it is time to join hands once again to make a glorious
country for the future of Khmer. Please do not contribute to the further destruction
of our beautiful country and its people. As John F. Kennedy former president of the
United States of America once said, "Ask not what your country can do for you,
ask what you can do for your country."
As we all know, our country is what we make of it. We, as Khmer people, do not want
to see precious parts of our beautiful land taken away bit by bit by our neighbors
and outsiders. We want to see Khmer land remain forever in peace.
We, our friends and parents are anxious to see that all Khmer people that have been
separated and away from their homeland for so long will be reunited once again in
one national family, "The Reunion of Khmer". We also hope that some day
we can return to visit our beautiful, peaceful, and loving Khmer country. Even though
we grew up in this country, our hearts, souls, and memories long for the Kampuchea
imprinted in our minds. Khmer land, Khmer people, and Khmer traditions are so unique
that we can never be replaced in our being by other cultures.
- Rattanak Yin and Toan Keo, Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A
PS: This is just our personal concern about our country. We wish that we could
write in Khmer language. Since we came here when we were so young, we never had any
education about our language. If any of this writing is inappropriate, please excuse