Nic Dunlop remembers Duch as a man living in the jungle who knew how to swim with the sharks, knew how to manipulate He was a classic survivor. Four major cases emerged concerning international crimes: including crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Rob put in a request after appearing at the trial, but it was turned down. Its not death itself I believe that once youre gone, thats it, youre no longer there, and Ive known other people who have died [and made my peace with it] but its what happened to him. I moved because my father thought Royal Grammar was a better school than West Jameson.. By sharing there is hope that it will never be allowed to happen again. The liberators of Tuol Sleng also found a pamphlet written in French and English called the Regulation of Security Agents, which Hilary draws my attention to. The first time I came across John Dewhirst was on a trip to Phnom Penh in the rainy season of 2011, running my fingertips along a row of faces and documents in the former Khmer Rouge interrogation centre known as S-21. There are also audio guides available that are narrated by survivors of the Killing Fields. I felt sometimes sympathy for them after speaking to them, because the majority of them were so young at that time when they were used to commit murders and torture and many were orphans. He was one of the lucky ones: a university-educated man an architect, no less who had been able to disguise himself and take to the agricultural life. Elsewhere in the confession, the nature of John and Kerrys arrest is described: John says that he was shot in the left hand and that he and Kerry used the sides of the Foxy Lady as a shield and hid in the sea when they were first approached by Cambodian sailors (Stuart Glass was fatally shot at this point). However, the appeal was a big success and raised double the amount expected, so it actually paid for 20. When I enquire about Johns employment at The Japan Times, just one former employee, now only a sporadic contributor, is left at the publication who can recall what happened. Its because the cadres were so young and so numerous that there is little appetite in Cambodia to prosecute more members of the Khmer Rouge. Denise Affonco, a survivor of the genocide, stated in the Khmer Rouge tribunal regarding the conditions: Every day, people died in the village.
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies, Youk Chhang/Documentation Centre of Cambodia. But as time went on and no letters arrived, the families began to worry.
During the rainy season the field is flooded with water. Our guide lived in Phnom Penh in the 1970s when Pol Pot evacuated the city. It is estimated that 17,000 men, women, and children were killed here in just the few short years of the Khmer reign. Hed always been adventurous, says Hilary, and outdoorsy. John Dawson Dewhirst and Kerry Hamill were just two people in a genocide which took the lives of over 2 million, but they were people I feel I got to know as I researched their stories. We'd love to see what you're sharing! Id stopped in front of an unexpected typed confession, one which mentioned the streets, schools and shops of my own childhood in Newcastle. A letter Hilary kept from 1998 details the work done by Oxfam in the region as a result of the donated photographs taken by John: The appeal fund which was set up in your brothers name was used to fund student placements for pupils who could not afford to pay tuition fees. Overall, the court proceedings are mainly considered a success, since senior Khmer Rouge figures such as Duch were prosecuted, and the proceedings occurred inside Cambodia and allowed for Cambodians to witness and participate in the ECCC firsthand. It was a hybrid court, with a number of foreign judges from the UN sitting alongside Cambodian counterparts, and its first case was brought against the man who ran S-21 and ordered the murder of thousands. When I first heard of my brothers death and for a long time, I felt that if it was possible to die as a result of emotional pain then I would. Affection is forbidden. Here are the titles with links to Amazon, however it looks like these are just people selling their old copies. What we know of Kerry Hamills English language confession is heartbreaking in its inspiration and humour. He apparently remains convinced that, because he assumes he would have been killed himself if he hadnt continued the work of Angkar, he cannot be held responsible. The country was closed to tourists and visitors, its borders heavily policed, its airports inoperative apart from a once-weekly flight to Beijing. Sihanouk finally broke off diplomatic relations with the US upon the escalation of the Vietnam War and allied himself with North Vietnam. Does this suggest he was kept alive for longer than expected? Edinburgh International Justice Initiative. There are over 23,000 sites in Cambodia where mass executions took place. Copyright 2020 Kevin & Amanda. I wanted to share them just in case. Its unclear what provoked this particular act of brutality, but its plain that the capture of westerners was celebrated by the Khmer Rouge as a particularly significant victory: proof that CIA agents were stationed round the countrys shores, determined to topple the regime. Hilary Holland eventually did travel to Cambodia herself, even though she didnt make Duchs trial. They had such hope and fear. He pauses. Few believed he could have a shred of empathy left. The Cambodian Genocide was a horrific event that happened only 40 years ago (from 1975-1979) and killed nearly 2 million innocent Cambodians (nearly 1/4th of the population).
I did a lot of pretty wacky things [to try to process the grief], Rob Hamill tells me. I too would like to know where to purchase the books. Thank you again and take care. Why does my grief and pain feel undiminished by the passage of time? They were very much like the Nazis in that way. When I first visited the town, it had a smattering of hostels; by 2017, and after the introduction of an airport, the main street, known (slightly bizarrely) as Pub Street, is ablaze with neon lights, and luxury hotels with American-style air conditioning and swimming pools line the roads leading up to the temples. Pol Pot thought the modern cities in Cambodia were corrupt. Its the manner of his death not that I know exactly how he was finally killed but the days and weeks of torture, the total inhumanity of it, I cant process that to make it comfortable or right. You know the survivors have a lot to share. In many ways, the absurd confessions and the pointless deaths of John Dewhirst and Kerry Hamill epitomise the regimes time in power: brutal, nonsensical, enduringly traumatic. In order to save bullets, the Khmer Rouge beat the children against this tree. Ive heard of the fields through the years but never researched what happened. This victim had his arms wired together.
There were only 7 known survivors. The media, the judges and the families of victims were prepared to face an unfeeling psychopath. Thank you for sharing.
What everyone wanted was for him to break down in tears, says Nic Dunlop. This exhibition honors not only those who died, but also those who survived to keep their memory alive. The email that Hilary sent to Rob then, which she forwarded to me after our interview, makes for difficult reading. Accountability: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). A barrister from the UK who worked in Phnom Penh tells me that court cases remain difficult to conduct, because so many people with an education in the law were killed that there were few left to teach a new generation of lawyers. We bought all three books. At the top, American is scribbled out and replaced with Anglais and his name, originally written as John Dalson Youferk is replaced in a different hand with John Dawson Dewhirst. Against this background, the Khmer Rouge originated as an offshoot of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in the 1960s. I contacted Simon Fraser University to ask whether Lebowitz might have travelled at that time and met John in person. It is argued that the bombing campaigns not only deepened Communist Vietnamese involvement in Cambodia (therefore providing aid to the Khmer Rouge), but also sparked anger among civilians and helped them recruit supporters. What chance did they have? The walls of S-21 are still lined with pictures of murdered children, women with toddlers and parents holding newborn babies, photographed before interrogation and extermination. At Choeung Ek, visitors nowadays are met with rows and rows of human skulls dug out from the mass graves into which slaughtered people were thrown for crimes that included being able to speak French, wearing spectacles or loving a family member too much. Chhang is a survivor of the Killing Fields himself, and lost nearly 60 family members during the Khmer Rouge years, including his father and five of his siblings. None have refused to speak to me. The one that lives with me daily, says Hilary, is During the bastino [whipping] or electrisation, you must not cry loudly.. We dont like to admit that we all have that potential within us. Skiing & Sledding at Le Massif in Quebec! This horrific event took place only 40 years ago, and still greatly touches the lives of Cambodians today. He names the best types of cameras to take photographs for the CIA and the lighting that would be needed to do it; particularly arresting turns of phrase stand out, such as when he says that capitalism is like a culture [in Britain] that has been passed down the generations, like a tradition. ). One of these small cordoned-off sections is known to be the mass grave of more than 100 women and children; another, similarly sized rectangle is labelled 450 victims. I keep going back in my head to inhuman acts the sorts of things that were done to John cant be forgiven by a human being.. One of the stories that Andrew Cayley says stayed with him long after he stopped working on the trial in Phnom Penh was that of a woman called Bophana. The most infamous of these prisons was the S-21 Tuol Sleng prison, run by Kaing Guek Eav (known as Duch), which detained between 14,000 17,000 prisoners, of which only 12 are believed to have survived. The controversies between fictional CIA officers that he mentions are actually political scandals in Australia which were widely publicised in the 1970s. Approximately 12,273 people were detained here. He spoke French because hed had a good education. But they are incredibly important sites to be aware of and learn from during your visit Phnom Penh.
It is 31 years since our brothers were murdered. To the paranoid regime, to Comrade Duch and his cadres, they may have been CIA agents, prize prisoners, spies from another world hell-bent on eliminating communism. Amanda, I was wondering if the books you bought there written by the survivors were available for purchase somewhere?
They met in the Malaysian city of Kuala Terengganu, at the time a small harbour town with a tropical climate which faced onto the South China Sea, with a palm-lined beach and traditional stilt houses dotted across the river. This is no sanitised memorial. He was only 3 years old. In 2009, 31 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, yet at a time when none of the members of Angkar the governing party had been held to account for the mass torture and killings which they ordered, Case 001 opened at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. I just updated the post with links to the books on Amazon. Kerry couldnt have known that the Khmer Rouge would fall just a year after his capture, but he clearly believed that an opportunity would come for someone to find out about his fate. I agree, it is disturbing, but it happened and we need to know so that history does not repeat itself. Most journalists had either fled or been murdered in the early days of the Khmer Rouge. These are not the happiest spots to tour. The Khmer ideology had been influenced by Pol Pots time spent among hill tribes in the north-east, who lived a self-sufficient, communal lifestyle without need of money. I ask Hilary if she knows that some of Johns belongings had been kept there. Theres no denying that the Holocaust is far better known, even though Pol Pots crimes against humanity are far more recent. He had a legal position as principal of Benton Rov Secondary School My mother is a secretary in a business store named Fenwick In 1957, I went to West Jameson Junior School in Newcastle. She has since spent most of her career speaking to former members of the cadres. When Angkar came to power, Dy Proeung buried the books of sketches hed made detailing the architectural features of the temples of Angkor Wat deep underground, and only retrieved them after the regime had fallen. Meas Muth is presumed to have been in charge of capturing the Foxy Lady off the tiny, idyllic island of Koh Tang, which at that point unbeknownst to the sailors housed a Khmer Rouge military base. Although the Vietnamese established a new government upon defeating the Khmer Rouge, the ousted Khmer Rouge continued to wage guerrilla attacks upon them.
Long paragraphs are dedicated to various political controversies and groups in Japan, as well as Tokyo coffee houses where intellectuals would meet, clearly referencing his time there working for The Japan Times. The Cambodian genocide, which occurred under the Khmer Rouge, the official regime of Pol Pot from 1975 1979, is a striking example of a genocide from recent memory, It is inexorably tied to the geopolitical and ideological conflicts of the Indochinese Peninsula in the Cold War era. Pressed for details about his supposed CIA commanders, Kerry Hamill gave their names as Colonel Sanders and Captain Pepper. He now commutes daily from his village to Siem Reap in order to showcase his miniatures; he speaks with fondness about his days in the countryside, even as he diligently continues to ensure that the work he would have been slaughtered for doing under the Khmer Rouge is seen. Soumy had attached a note at the end: Having worked through these documents, I find it so interesting. And he knew he knows what happened to those westerners, they were prize prisoners.
He was very bright but hed had to leave university [when the Khmer Rouge came in]. I hadnt heard about the disappearance of these foreigners before. What was particularly intriguing was that the official confession which appears under Johns name in S-21 is dated 5 September 1978, whereas the two Khmer documents in the same file were dated 17 September and 13 October 1978. Other sentences seem like they have been inserted by someone else, so specific are they to the paranoid fantasies of senior members of the regime at the time, such as the tales about meeting with nefarious Thai and Vietnamese refugees fleeing Cambodia alongside American CIA agents to plot the downfall of Angkar. He has been bringing together documents relating to the Khmer Rouge since 1995, carefully making notes of everything he is told by former members of the regime and keeping vast records of confessions and interrogations so that if a family member comes searching, theyll be ready and accessible. When they didnt show up, she knew something was wrong. Bodies were dumped into mass graves in farms, known as the killing fields; and over 388 sites, containing 19,733 mass graves have been identified. To anyone who grew up in Newcastle, these names Fenwicks, the misspelt Benton Road, the private school known colloquially as RGS are as familiar as the river Tyne or the Gateshead quayside. He takes great comfort in the messages left for his family in Kerrys confession: The sense of loneliness he must have been feeling and then to write a document of such dignity It was an inspiring act. He used to write to me on his travels, she tells me, 40 years later. Countless deaths occurred due to easily-preventable diseases as a result. The first set of documents, dated 17 September 12 days after Johns official, typed and fingerprinted confession papers are dated comprise 30 pages describing CIA techniques around the world. They plan to travel around the world together this year, cataloguing their journey on a YouTube channel called The Cruising Kiwis, and are considering taking their yacht through southeast Asia to Koh Tang island off Cambodia, mirroring Kerrys journey in his final days before being abducted by the Khmer Rouge. The work of government and the judicial system are even now feeling the ramifications of the Khmers massacre of professionals. LinkedIn: The food shortages produced a man-made famine, as an estimated 500,000 to 1.5 million deaths occurred solely due to this. I would like to know where you can purchase the survivors books. They set off on a course towards Bangkok, three experienced sailors on a relatively short hop across the water. Reading Kerry and Johns official, typed confessions give a vivid impression of what each man was like. It just didnt make any sense. It was just at this time that the killing frenzies at S-21 and Choeung Ek are believed to have been at their peak.