Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Packed house

LtoR: Bou Meng, man holding book, Khieu Kanharith, Chum Mey, Tom Fawthrop, Helen Jarvis
A packed auditorium at ACE this evening, listened to four speakers at the book launch, in the Khmer language, of the examination of how the Khmer Rouge Tribunal came into being and the rocky road it's had to survive to get to where it is today, warts and all. Getting Away With Genocide? by Helen Jarvis and Tom Fawthrop was first published back in 2004. It's taken until today to make it into Khmer, thanks to DC-Cam and the translators. Fawthrop and Jarvis explained how they first came up with the idea of the book in 1999 and in their research, interviewed 44 people with knowledge on the subject, to add to their own extensive awareness. Fawthrop for example, first came to Cambodia in 1981, where he met one of the evening's other speakers, Khieu Kanharith, then a fellow journalist, now the Minister of Information and the government's mouthpiece. The event was twenty minutes late in starting as the Minister made us wait for his arrival. With speakers and questions in both English and Khmer, the launch was bitty and hard to follow at times, but the book remains an invaluable resource for Khmers to understand more about the trial process, and a serialization in the daily Rasmea Kampuchea newspaper for the past three months, has brought it to the attention of many citizens. The audience included two survivors of Tuol Sleng, namely Chum Mey and Bou Meng as well as ambassadors and tribunal staff members alongside many Khmer students.
The book's co-authors, Helen Jarvis and Tom Fawthrop
The first speaker was HE Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information

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