Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fragile hopes from the Killing Fields

Fragile hopes from the Killing Fields

Fragile hopes from the Killing Fields

Fragile.jpg
Fragile.jpg

Tiara Delgado: filmed four inspiring Cambodians.

"I'm still angry. I don't forget but I forgive. If I don't forgive, then more

[violence] will happen. My children cannot learn and my country cannot develop."

These words, spoken by Sangha, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime, sum up the message

of a documentary launched on February 21 at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnom

Penh.

Fragile Hopes From the Killing Fields is the debut film by Tiara Delgado, a 27-year

old graduate of New York University's film school. Using the personal stories of

four Cambodians, the 30-minute film looks at the important role of educating the

younger generation about the atrocities committed in 1975-9 and the determination

of people to transcend the past and carry Cambodia to a brighter future.

The response to the film has overwhelmed Delgado. Praise flowed in from the audience

after the screening, with one man saying he had spent four years in a German concentration

camp and could relate to the human toll of genocidal regimes. The five copies the

filmmaker brought along to the launch were snapped up and over 60 teachers have requested

Khmer and English-language versions of the documentary to show their students.

Delgado has been returning annually to Cambodia over the past five years to work

on the film, spending about $15,000 of her own money to finance the project. The

original idea was for a montage of survivors' stories, but the two themes of educating

young people and rebuilding the country emerged from interviews.

"It seemed like there was another story other than just surviving the genocide,"

said Tiara Delgado on February 23.

"I think there's a fine line between seeing someone as a victim and the people

that are just so resilient and so amazing and find it within themselves to step out

of that [past] and actually take action to reverse tragedy," she said.

The film focuses on four inspiring Cambodians. Sangha was orphaned during the radical

Maoist reign and now works with former Khmer Rouge soldiers to locate and destroy

landmines for the Cambodian Mine Action Group. As an infant, Sophal fled with his

mother to Vietnam and spent seven years in France before finally settling in America.

He is now back in Cambodia writing his PhD on development issues. Vann Nath, a painter,

is well known as one of only seven people to survive the S-21 torture center, as

is Sayana, who translated the diaries of Anne Frank into Khmer.

The film's launch pre-empted a "Spirit of Cambodia" tour that will begin

in the United States in April, traveling to Cambodian-Americans communities across

the country with the aim of educating young people about the past. The tour will

involve Delgado's film, a book by Carol Wagner called Soul Survivors: stories of

women and children in Cambodia and the rap music of Cambodian-American Prach Ly.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro