While some may see incongruity for a man who could work alongside and under Sihanouk, Lon and current Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, Chhang has his own viewpoint.
In his way, the old press liaison says he is doing that. Chhang spearheaded creation of a monument in Phnom Penh to honor 37 journalists who died during the civil war and its aftermath. That monument was unveiled in February. Earlier he was part of a group that planted a memorial tree to commemorate television journalists who died there.
Long Beach Cambodian remembers dark days of Khmer Rouge rise
Song Chhang on his Long Beach, Calif., balcony April 10, 2013. Chhang, the former minister of information for the Lon Nol government in Cambodia, is among those for Prada Blue Wallet who the April 17 anniversary of the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge is a solemn day. Chhang recently returned from Cambodia where he helped lead efforts to install a memorial to journalists killed by the Khmer Rouge.
"The fall (of Cambodia) is one of the things I studied very closely at high levels," Chhang said.
in narratives, essays and poems that the country's former Cambodian minister of information has penned over the years. And still more float in his head like ether.
By then Sihanouk had been marginalized and forgotten by Khmer Rouge leadership, but the people didn't know that. So they waited for their prince to come and rescue them. Sihanouk would come. He'd come. The darkness would lift. The prince was coming.
To those Cambodians who wish to snipe at their country from afar, Chhang challenges them to create the change they want.
In "The Loss of Cambodia," a memoir Chhang hopes to expand into a book, he writes: "I am a man without a country. I have lost every member of my family. There are many others like me, Cambodians who have evacuated or fled their native, beloved land to find new residences around the world. "
In Cambodia, where political alignments were tenuous at best, Chhang said he had been close to Norodom Sihanouk, the man Lon and his allies deposed. Sihanouk was an admirer of Chhang's French poetry and hired him to proofread and edit several magazines. After Sihanouk was ousted, Chhang needed work and became an interpreter and press liaison. He eventually moved up the ladder to minister of information.
fell to the Khmer Rouge, and I have lived through that tragedy to this day," Chhang said. "However, I have never in my mind considered governments to be permanent entities. They come and they go, and they change. And I am for the change. "
Chhang said he brought Western press with him to witness the devastation and wrote of it himself. But Western media chose not to report he atrocities, he said, and ignored his briefings as unreliable because of the government's low credibility.
Each year when April 17 rolls around, the 74 year old former press liaison feels the need to share his memories, his information for future generations. In 2010, Chhang suffered a stroke that has limited him physically. He doesn't know how long his health and mind will hold out, but says there is much that only he knows about Cambodia's politics at the time of the fall that he'd like to share.
"It was a great tragedy that the Lon Nol government Prada Vela Backpack Small
LONG BEACH Chhang Song sits alone in a small bedroom converted into office space with his memories. They are crammed into photo albums, each snapshot a moment connected to a story ranging from tragic to joyous.
There are few reliable records of the exact toll of the deadly frenzy that swept the small Southeast Asian nation. The dead were strewn in shallow graves, dropped into rice paddies to molder under the dank earth that became known as the Killing Fields.
While Chhang and Lon glumly listened to the reports, Phnom Penh was gripped by euphoria. Residents had heard the war was over. They waited to be rescued.
Cambodians say the one legacy they all share is shame. And it begins with April 17.
Chhang shows a picture of his staff with a Khmer Rouge soldier. Chhang said all his staff members were loaded into trucks and summarily executed.
As the Khmer Rouge embarked on creating their dystopia, Chhang joined the Cambodian diaspora in America. However, he didn't disappear for long. Chhang later became a senator with the Cambodian People's Party, until he was expelled.
What came instead were fighters, ruthless men and boys carrying carbines and grenade launchers with deadly serious faces. What came was death in reeds and fetid water. Pol Pot had proclaimed Year Zero.
Other memories are written Prada Handbag Styles
He would like to see the truth revealed. How that will unfold, he has no idea.
In fact, Chhang said on the day Phnom Penh fell, he sat alone in a room with Lon Nol, the deposed leader of the short lived Khmer Republic, listening to the grim dispatches from their home country. Lon had resigned from office and fled the country on April 1.
Each year as April 17 looms, disturbing recollections roil to the surface like bubbles in a slow boil. For Cambodians, this day is a stain that never goes away: It marks the anniversary of the 1975 fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge. It recalls the dawn of an unimaginable genocide that left anywhere from 1.5 million to 3 million dead from executions, starvation, diseases and privation.
(Jeff Gritchen / Staff Photographer)
As a young press liaison, Chhang interpreted for a general named Am Rong, who quickly became a gag among the press Prada Wallet Black
Shortly after the Khmer Rouge entered the city, the killings began.
As Chhang tells the story, he was assigned to escort the former head of state out of the country. He describes a harrowing departure from Phnom Penh airport as gunmen fired on the departing plane with rifles and rockets.
Despite his history of often violent repression, Sihahouk was the people's prince, a charismatic figure under whom they felt they could unite.
"I was on the list of people to be killed," Chhang said, referring to infamous records the Khmer Rouge kept of those it deemed "enemies of the people." He has no doubt a bullet would have awaited him. He said members of his family were hunted down and killed simply because they were family.
As Chhang and Lon sat together in Hawaii and listened to the messages from Cambodia, Lon, ever the military man, sat stoically, betraying nothing. Frantic efforts both to relocate the existing government in another city in Cambodia or arrange a orderly transfer of power had failed and it was pandemonium in Phnom Penh.
corps. There was nothing funny Chhang said, when his warnings about the Khmer Rouge fell on deaf ears.
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