Saturday, March 11, 2017

Week 9 - Matthew Mandel

This week we read “War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian Syndrome”, the author Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, and it discusses the Khmer Rouge war, that took over Cambodia and created a mass genocide of the Cambodian people. Cathy talks about how the genocide and what people had to go through in order to get out of Cambodia and become refugees. Cathy really brought it to the attention of the readers that a lot of the memories that the refugees had to recall were not entirely the correct situations as to what really happened because many of the situations became repressed and hard to recall or altered in their mind. Cathy also wanted to bring awareness that many of the places in Cambodia are being publicized as places to want to go and yet are not given the same respect as to what these places represent. They also aren't given or being treated in the proper way as to what the place really meant and what situations took place there.

I found it hard to hear what the Khmer Rouge did to people as to how they could take people into these giant fields and start killing them for no reason, and how they would drown people in tanks of sewage water. While reading this it really made me tear up to learn of these horrific situation that took place in Cambodia.

Why are people hardwired to take orders from someone just because they seem to be the “leader”? EX: why did people do what pol pot said or follow hitler, and not fight against what they said?


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Week 9 - Linda Nguyen

Linda Nguyen
ASA 150E – SEAA Issues
Professor Valverde
4 March 2017
Week 9: Post War Criticism and the Viet Nam Syndrome as Praxis
War, Genocide, and Justice by Cathy J. Schlund-Vials focused on both “collected and collective memorialization.” War, Genocide, and Justice investigate into how Cambodian American cultural producers such as filmmaker, writer, hip-hop artists, and performance artists labor to rearticulate and reimagine the Killing Fields era. War, Genocide, and Justice engage the collected memory of the Killing Fields era and the legacy of Democratic Kampuchean authoritarianism for in-country Khmers and diasporic Cambodians. Artists such as Socheata Poeuv, Loung Ung, Chanrithy Him, Prach Ly, and Anida Yoeu Ali confront historical amnesia in origin sites such as Cambodia or a nearby refugee camp (4). These artists undermine forgetting in their country of settlement in the U.S. and use productions as an alternative mode for and practices of justice. Cambodian American writers and artists generate cultural forms of genocidal remembrance from diasporic dislocation and transnational reimagination. In other words, these artists are fighting to remember the past and preserve their memory of the past into the next generation.  Cambodian American writers and artists are preserving their memory and history that are often suppressed, silenced, or disregarded by the majority/dominant narratives. What I find interesting was that even more than 30 years since Democratic Kampuchea’s dissolution, only one Khmer Rouge official has been tried and convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity in an international court of law. I was surprised to learn of the destructive and heinous policies of the Khmer Rouge who targeted Muslim Cambodians (the Cham) and the Vietnamese Cambodians. I was also surprised that the Khmer Rouge members still occupy positions of governmental power. [Question:] Where are the justices and why are the Khmer Rouge member are given pardon for their atrocious crimes? Furthermore, there was omission in Chea Sim’s [current Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) chairman and longtime politician] address, which makes no mention of UN/ Cambodian War Crimes Tribunal. The UN/ Cambodian War Crimes Tribunal is where the court tries the most that are responsible members of the Khmer Rouge for violations of international law and crimes perpetrated during the Cambodian genocide.

We see this happening where artists, writers, and filmmakers are using alternative production of modes for and practices of justice through social media, novels, and movies. By using film, music, writing, and spoken word, they are rearticulated their history. We can see this in examples in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer and Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, Tui Bui illustrated memoir’s The Best We Could Do, and GB Tran’s Vietamerica: A Family’s Journey. These books/novel fills in the gaps of time and distance with imagination. In a way, these are resistance by way of the contested memory that highlights the political objective and with contemporary Vietnamese American memory work.

Socheata and her father Nin Pouev, from The New Year Baby (2006) film 

Cathy J. Schlund-Vials. “Eating Welfare.” 2001. Eric Tang and the Youth Leadership Project” and “Prach Ly.”War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work. 2012.

Introduction: Battling the “Cambodian Syndrome”

Week 9 - Jonathan Khuu

In “War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian Syndrome”, the author Cathy J. Schlund-Vials discusses the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot in Cambodia.  Schlund Vials focuses on the plight and hardships endured by the Cambodian people under the Khmer Rouge, especially the renarration and dehumanization that has occurred since the genocide.  “Pol Pot led Khmer Rouge dismantled by way of totalitarian repudiation the principle pillars of Cambodian society: centuries old tradition, pre-Revolutionary socioeconomic infrastructures, and Khmer familial affiliation” (2).  The reading focuses on the theme or renarration and repressed histories.  Schlund-Vials specifically does this by examining Chex Sim’s speech.  It further reinforces the renarration aspect of the genocide.  Sim notes that “we are here to today in order to remember the people who sacrificed their lives to save the nation from the genocide” (5).  The reading sheds light on how no one seems to want to take the blame for horrendous activities that occur such as genocide.  The blame and accountability is often overshadowed by new narratives that are used to repress stories.  The reading sheds light that other nations have also acknowledged the fact that the genocide is being forgotten and are making valiant efforts to prevent this.  Clinton addresses the issue by saying “many if us are doing our best to see that Cambodia is not forgotten” (10).  However, given recent political trends, there is often still renarration of history and past events.   Trumps address on Holocaust remembrance day did not mention anything about the holocaust.  

Question:  What could the US/UN have done to help with the Khmer Rouge and genocide?

Week 9 - Angela Oh

In "War, Genocide, and Justice", Cathy Schlund-Vials gives an account of the Khmer Rouge and its "Reign of Terror" on Cambodia during 1975. Motivated to eradicate any Western influence, the Khmer Rouge evacuated all Cambodian cities and forced people into countryside labor camps where they were tortured, exploited, and killed. In the three year period, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for the deaths of 1.7 Cambodians. This era of history and its effects are still present in modern society, nearly four decades after the Khmer Rouge reign.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was created to commemorate the Khmer Rouge's incarceration, exploitation, and torture against the Cambodian people in the Tuol Sleng Prison which was originally a high school. The museum's purpose is to shed light on otherwise unspoken war crimes and human rights violations, as well as to bring evidence of a genocide against the Cambodian people. However, the Tuol Sleng Museum may have an alternative agenda as well. Although a relatively small percentage of prisoners were political prisoners, the Tuol Sleng Museum exclusively involves the accounts of these political prisoners. Rather than fully representing the entire situation of the Killign Field, the museum serves as an emblem and is not fully representative. Agenda aside, the museum serves a commemorative purpose for Cambodians who otherwise do not have many opportunities for such commemoration. 

Question: There have been other forms of commemoration of the Killing Fields (i.e. Ice-T's
"Escape from the Killing Fields"). What are other forms of commemoration that can contribute to understanding the Cambodian genocide and their experiences, as the museums' exhibits are largely fragmented and left unfinished?

Harry Manacsa Week 9

Harry Manacsa
Prof. Valverde
4 March 2017
Week 9 Blog
One of Cathy J. Schlund-Vials’ focuses in War, Genocide, and Justice is the misrepresentation of the atrocities in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Often, these skewed conveyances are indirectly caused by the renewed missions of various memorials and tributes, as they somehow discredit the actual atrocities that took place.
For example, Schlund-Vial believes that in remembering “genocidal crimes” in the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum comes the “restaging and reimaging [of] Khmer Rouge atrocitizes.” (Schlund-Vial 40). She sees a disconnection between a hanging scaffold and its placard. In other words, the placard cannot encapsulate the grief and terror that the scaffold represents for victims. Likewise, pictures of prisoners showcased in the museum are often of the victim’s booking—in essence, before any actual harm was done.
Additionally, Schlund-Vial underscores the debilitating consequences of heavy tourism in Cambodia. In her depiction of a tour of Angkor Wat, an icon of Khmer civilization, is the idea of “dark tourism”, a recurring “presentation and consumption of visitors [for] real and commodified death and disaster sites.” (Schlund-Vial 63) She believes that, even in a place meant to honor culture is a need for the government to displace guilt especially to American tourists. In fact, Angkor Wat is a prominent fixture for Cambodian nationalism. This is all to say that the U.S. continues to have influence over how Cambodia should illustrate their histories.
Somehow, this is also seen in rapper praCH’s compulsion to rap about the “killing fields” of Cambodia, for the U.S. shaped the stagnation and stratifications of ethnicities into “ghettos” and ethnic enclaves and spawned the voices of Ice T and N.W.A for praCH.
Question: Is Schlund-Vial correct in asserting that the Cambodia wants to commodify the tragedies of the Khmer Rouge?
Vendors at Angkor Wat
Schlund-Vials, Cathy Jean. War, Genocide, and Justice Cambodian American Memory Work. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota, 2012. Print.

Helen Vu - Week 9

Week 9 - War, Genocide & Justice: Cambodian Memory Works

War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian Syndrome by Cathy J. Schlund-Vials engages the readers regarding the happenings of the Khmer Rouge. What occurred during that time was “grounded in untenable agricultural revolution and determined to eradicate Western influence by any means necessary, the Khmer Rouge regime systematically evacuated Cambodia’s cities and forcibly relocated residents to countryside labor camps” (1). However, what this reading is trying to do is to recognize that this event in history has been in conflict with memory and how the recollection of such a tragic time has been twisted by politicians and their agendas. Schlund-Vials does this by providing a series of example, such as by analyzing Sim’s speech when Vietnam liberated Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge rule. During the speech Sim fails to address the atrocities committed against the Cambodian people, but asked for them to move on and to see what had happened to them as a triumph. It was not only about how Cambodian officials saw the event, but how U.S. leader saw the war as well. In summary, the way that these leaders view the Khmer Rouge “contains politicized and selective processes of remembering the genocidal past,” and for one that is important in our Southeast Asian course is that it does not allow for healing and reconciliation for the individuals, families, and groups whom that this horrific event directly affected.

Question: Why did it take until 1991 for the United Nation to “refer to the period Democratic Kampuchea as one marked by genocidal policies” when the mass killing was so blatantly obvious?

Schlund-Vials, Cathy Jean. War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work: Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota, 2012. Print.