Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Jan 25, 2022
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Khmer Redux?

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Cambodian-born Youk Chhang (above) is playing a part in a national effort to prevent the Khmer Rouge party from regaining power in Cambodia. The Campaign to Oppose the Return of the Khmer Rouge hopes to increase Western awareness of the atrocities committed by the party during its bloody rule in the 1970s.

Chhang’s memory of those troubled limes remains vivid. “I was a victim of the Khmer Rouge,” says the 30-year-old University of Dallas graduate student. “It was the most terrible and ugly nightmare we ever experienced.”

The Khmer Rouge now preach equality and promise better lives for the country’s downtrodden people, but Chhang, whose mother, sister and brother still live in Cambodia, believes that the party will not reform and “the head will never be cured unless it is cut off.” Chhang says 1992 is crucial because Washington is currently considering withdrawal of some $600 million earmarked to coordinate democratic elections in Cambodia in 1993. Without these funds, Chhang says, the election will not take place.

Chhang and his group are spreading their message through movies, pamphlets, speeches and posters. He hopes that the approximately 8.000 Cambodians living in Dallas can help prevent a literal sequel to The Killing Fields.