Jedaiah MickanBardenhagenEnglish 2333.
3729 January 2018 A very deep understanding of Ung, Loung. First they killed my father: a daughter of Cambodia remembers. Mainstream Publishing, 2017. In First they killed my father, we follow Loung Ung through her experience as Khmer Rouge take away her enriched life. Loung Ung starts off describing her wealthy middle class life, where there is no concern of the basic needs humans face: food, water, shelter, companionship. All of a sudden her life is turned upside down as soldiers of the Khmer Rouge take over her village in Phnom Penh.
Loung and her family are forced to relocate time and time again, finding their ability to survive conditions they had never been concerned about previously. As time goes on, Loung lost family members to the Khmer Rouge and finds herself being separated from her family members that survive. One day, a large commotion arises in the camps Loung and members of her family that are still alive rest in, as explosions hit near or on their camps. This commotion brings Loung and two of her siblings together and eventually brings the rest of the survivors of her family together and in the end, Loung and her oldest brother, Meng, move to America and start new lives. Biography”Loung Ung.” Gale Biography in Context, Gale, 2017.
Biography in Context, Accessed 28 Jan. 2018.”Loung Ung.
” Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2013. Biography in Context, Accessed 29 Jan. 2018.Ung, Loung. First they killed my father: a daughter of Cambodia remembers. Mainstream Publishing, 2017.
“Ung, Loung.” “(UHNG, LOO-uhng)”. Current Biography International Yearbook, 01 Jan. 2006. EBSCO, Accessed 29 Jan. 2018.
Gale Biography in Context is a very accredited source with over 650,000 biographical coverages of international figures from a wide range of time periods and areas of study. It offers authoritative reference content and is updated all the time in order to make sure it has the most to offer readers while remaining credible. The authors of this source are established writers of biographies having written over 14,000 biographies of various people. The H.W. Wilson Company is also an accredited publishing company that is renowned for its accuracy and up to date library. Loung Ung, born around 1970, lived the first few years of her life in a very wealthy fashion. Going to school 6 days a week, she spent her free time playing with toys, fighting siblings, dancing to music, and watching tv; a very middle class lifestyle comparative to those who didn’t even have a tv.
On April 17, 1975 however, the Khmer Rouge took control of Phnom Penh. Loung and her family are forced to conceal their true identity as family members of a military official (Loung’s father). As they travel away from their home, they face hardships that contrast their privileged previous lifestyle and test their limits to the extremes, facing starvation, sickness, and separation. Eventually the family is split up as members are moved around to different camps and multiple family members are killed by soldiers or sickness. Eventually, the remaining of the family that was separated miraculously find each other and escape to thailand.
From their, Loung and her oldest brother Meng move to America. “I’d hoped being Americanized could erase my memories of the war” (First they killed my father). Becoming a part of american culture, Loung tried to suppress the horrors she had experienced in Cambodia, however, she was driven to attempt committing suicide by anxiety. She decided against suicide however, and a therapist encouraged writing about her experiences as a form of recovery.
Loung proceeded to do many more things such as graduate with a degree in political science, advocate for programs, and become the spokesperson for the Nation Campaign for a Landmine-Free World. “Ung held the position for the next six years, raising awareness about the threat landmines pose to tens of millions of people around the world” (Current Biography International Yearbook). She then went forward to release a couple of books over her experiences and get married. I find the information gathered quite interesting as far as a little more detail into the backstory of Loung’s father and Loung’s life after transferring into America.
These articles help me better understand the befores and afters, as the book itself is a biography of Loung’s life during the Khmer Rouge takeover, and finding out that even after she had passed that time of her life, she struggled, gives me perspective on how traumatic experiences can linger. Geography”The World Factbook: CAMBODIA.” Central Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, 23 Jan. 2018, Accessed 29 Jan. 2018.The Central Intelligence Agency or CIA is very well known in America as a governmental agency that is reliable and trustworthy in protecting information and the people in the country.
The World Factbook itself is very well renowned for its database covering countries worldwide and keeps its sources updated annually. Cambodia is shaped very strangely as it is mostly surrounded by many its neighboring countries, “bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos” (The World Factbook: Cambodia), but it slightly connects to the ocean on its southwestern tale. This provides opportunity for ports to trade as well as fishing. The available port for trade played a key role in getting the country back together after the regime that took place. Much of Cambodia is characterized by low lying plains and flats surrounded by hills. The country thus starts to appear in similarity to a very large bowl. The bowl shape is not only helpful for the country, but also necessary for its success.
The bowl allows for rain to drain into natural irrigation systems from the mountains. This is very helpful during the part of the year in which rain is less available, however, during the other part of the year, it does not provide as much aid. During the other part of the year, monsoons bring large downfalls of rain causing flooding and mudslides. Most of the population lives in the southeast of Cambodia around Phnom Penh, right near Mekong River, where trade is readily available from places such as Thailand. A large trade export is vegetation in Cambodia, however a large portion of its soil is unable to be used due to the lack of nutrients.
The lower land however, is quite rich in nutrients due to the seasonal monsoons fertilizing it. While the south is covered in a large amount of forestry, the north maintains many grasses and vegetation as well as animals that seek to escape Thailand hunting. With such large forests in the south, illegal logging has become a large issue in Cambodia, as residents attempt (and sometimes succeed) at selling timber for cheaper prices than logging companies.
“illegal logging activities throughout the country… has resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity” (The World Factbook: Cambodia). This problem is leading to the depletion of the rainforests in Cambodia. Such access to water ports has also led to the problem of illegal fishing.
Such readily available water patches makes controlling fish populations a struggle. The environment and geography of Cambodia allows me to better visualize the camps that Loung and her family stayed at. The farming labor they did during their time is easier to see when I am aware of how monsoon cycles and irrigation works in Cambodia and fascinates me in reading over those sections of the book again. Also learning about the water ports allows me to extrapolate on escape paths from the Khmer Rouge in my mind.
DemographyWalque, Damien De. “The Long-Term Legacy of the Khmer Rouge Period in Cambodia.” Policy Research Working Papers, Apr. 2004, doi:10.1596/1813-9450-3446. Accessed 29 Jan. 2018.Damien de Walque, Senior Economist in the Development Research Group (Human Development Team) at the World Bank, has a Ph.
D. in Economics from the University of Chicago and focuses on evaluating the impact of financial incentives on health and education outcomes. During the Khmer Rouge reign, there were excessive losses of population due to a multiplicity of reasons.
From 1974-1980, adult males, individuals with urban or educated backgrounds, and infants had much higher mortality rates than seen before or after. In contrast, the fertility and marriage rates were very low, however after, they skyrocketed as there were closer age gaps than before. After the takeover and shut down, it is also seen that the education level of most males is much lower than before, as educated people were seen as a threat and executed.
There is an estimated death toll of one million from the regime, however it is difficult to have an exact count as the Khmer Rouge destroyed a large portion of documentation during this time. Poor nutrition during many survivors’ maturing periods likely resulted in the stunting of important growth. This has caused a difference in height among those who survived during their teen years, however there is a lack of evidence from those whose height is relatively normal who during that time period were children. This evidence may imply that most children in that time period either died or were not going through the largest stage of maturity which can be argued to be puberty. From 1975-1979, mortality rate is much higher among male adults, resulting in a large uneven distribution of men from Cambodia above the age of 60.
“Adult males have been the most likely to die” (The Long-Term Legacy of the Khmer Rouge Period in Cambodia). This may be shown in the excess comparative number of females in the same age group. During this time period fertility was extremely low as reproductive possibilities were much less available living in unsanitized and underprovided places. The idea of getting enough ration in order to fully develop a baby is also highly unlikely as many of the deaths that occurred were due to starvation of individuals that weren’t concerned with feeding themselves as well as a baby.
After the regime however there was a large baby boom. The marriage rates are very similar in pattern to that of the fertility rates which may reflect the ideals and morals of the Cambodian culture. “One of the main determinant of fertility is marriage” (The Long-Term Legacy of the Khmer Rouge Period in Cambodia). This information about the demography of Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge is fascinating, as we are able to see evidence of it within Loung’s reflection of it.
I recall Loung mentioning something about how impossible supporting a growing fetus may be during this period of time and looking at the information supports her thoughts and reflection fully. A lot of the other things Loung recalls is reflected in this information about the demography such as the death rate of those who are educated or living more successfully, which intrigues me as her father knew this at the time it was happening.GovernmentGottesman, Evan. Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge: inside the politics of nation building. Yale University Press, 2004. Evan Gottesman spent three years in Cambodia, where he served as resident liaison and deputy director of the American Bar Association Cambodia Law and Democracy Project giving him a broad range of knowledge over the governmental facilitations following the regime of the Khmer Rouge.
Democratic Kampuchea, established by the Khmer Rouge has received large backlash due to its attempt at overthrowing and destroying a country. The attempt to tear apart Cambodia’s many cultural and political aspects, however unsuccessful, succeeded in taking the lives of enormous numbers. However inexcusable this takeover, the drive behind Vietnamese involvement was put into question. It was questioned as to whether the Vietnamese entered the country in order to protect Cambodians from the communist takeover, or to take over themselves while there was an available opportunity to exploit.
“In the early months of 1979, Cambodia barely existed as a nation” (Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge: inside the politics of nation building). Some outbursts between students from clashing organizations occurred soon after the defeat of the Khmer Rouge over the motivation the Vietnamese had in aiding the Cambodians. At this point, with no government but the Vietnamese to follow, Cambodians were left puzzled as to how to continue forward. The Marxist-Leninist regime following the Khmer Rouge regime was secretive and closed off. Former Khmer Rouge that defected to the new regime, as well as well educated survivors were less politically oppressed following the Khmer Rouge. It was difficult to pick back up government as the ideas from many different intellectuals differed and highly relied on piggybacking of old ideas as well as looking towards problems they faced with the old ideas. Cambodian and Vietnamese officials, handed a blank slate of a country, were faced with other, extraordinary decisions” (Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge: inside the politics of nation building). Khmer Rouge killed off all of the old politicians and well educated people before they were finished off as well as destroying documentation of many policies and decisions which added to the difficulty of rebuilding a government.
A government finally became stable again in 2001. The struggle in recovering government well shows how much damage the Khmer Rouge did to Cambodia, taking over 20 years just to get a government up and running again. This shows a different perspective on damage done. We see in Loung’s book that there is a very narrow and personal impact against each person who was involved, however seeing the government and its rehabilitation shows the longer term and larger term effects of damage done to the country as a whole.Religion