Saturday, March 03, 2007

Peace & Oregon

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, currently stumbling along inside Cambodia, will reach far and wide at the end of next month. On April 27 & 28, the Cambodian-American Community of Oregon (CACO) will hold a free public forum to raise awareness about the Tribunal. The two-day forum will take place in Portland and the event will include panel discussions by Khmer Rouge genocide survivors and scholars of Cambodian history and culture, as well as presentations and performances by authors, musicians, and community activists. Any Cambodia watcher will know that the United Nations and the Cambodian government are scheduled to prosecute surviving senior Khmer Rouge leaders sometime in 2007, but no-one knows what effect this may have on the Cambodian population, though it is hoped that it will bring a sense of closure and healing for many of the survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime. An estimated 250,000 refugees from Cambodia currently reside in the US, with approximately 10,000 living in Oregon and SW Washington. CACO believes it can help community members cope with individual and collective trauma by confronting the past and exploring the effects of the Khmer Rouge genocide, including post-traumatic stress disorder and will use the forum to inform and educate the general public about the long-term effects of genocide.

The line-up of speakers is an impressive one. It includes Sichan Siv, former US Ambassador to the UN; Loung Ung, renowned author featured often in this blog; Daran Kravanh, internationally renowned musician; Beth Van Schaack, legal advisor to Documentation Centre of Cambodia; Alex Hinton, author of Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide; and Craig Etcheson, author and prosecutor for the Tribunal, alongwith Ronnie Yimsut, author and organiser of the event. Visit

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