Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Killed for his skin colour

Killed for his skin colour

Killed for his skin colour

Alain Darnis-Gravelle is the grandson of Charles Gravelle, the one-time president of Cambodia’s Société de Protection de l’Enfance au Cambodge.

Alain, who is retired, lives in the Haute-Savoie region of France, from where he runs a charity in Cambodia named after his grandfather: the Association Charles Gravelle.

The charity, which is run with French priest François Ponchaud, supplies food and medical care to children in far-flung areas such as Preah Vihear.

Alain is himself part-métis, a “quadroon” as he puts it, as his grandfather married and had children with a Cambodian dancer in the king’s ballet, Ratt Poss.

Charles Gravelle had 10 children, all of them métis, most of whom ended up in France after independence.

But that was too late for some members of Alain’s family.

Alain’s uncle, Thierry, died in 1948 after serving for the Royal Cambodian Army on the border with Vietnam.

Alain says Thierry was deliberately sought out by the anti-colonial Viet Minh because of his half-white heritage, cutting him to pieces and ditching him in the Mekong.

“They didn’t kill him; he was massacred.”

According to Alain, his father, who settled in France, was conflicted about his métis status, even though his name as the son of a prominent French colonist often helped him back in the colonial days.

“He would tell me that being a métis means you don’t belong to any community”, says Alain.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,