A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Kent State University holds events on 'Cambodia After Kent State'

Kent State University holds events on 'Cambodia After Kent State'
May 4 commemoration

Flowers are left on a metal sculpture on May 4, 2013 near a bullet hole from an Ohio National Guardsman's rifle shot. (John Kuntz / cleveland.com)

Karen Farkas, cleveland.com By Karen Farkas, cleveland.com
on April 25, 2016 

KENT, Ohio - As part of Kent State University's May 4 commemoration, events are scheduled on the theme "Cambodia After Kent State," with a focus on the aftermath of the Cambodian genocide during the Khmer Rouge regime.

The programs on April 26, 27, and 28 on the Kent campus are free and open to the public.  The series is supported by Kent State's College of Arts and Sciences.

Following five years of civil war in Cambodia, the Communist Party of Kampuchea, also known as the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot, massacred 2 million Cambodians while ruling the country from 1975 to 1979, the university said.

An estimated 25 percent of the total population died after forced relocation, torture, mass execution, malnutrition and disease. 

Following are the events:

April 26:  Chum Mey, a survivor of the infamous S-21 Security Center in Phnom Penh, will relate his story of imprisonment, survival, and forgiveness> He is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Kiva.

Throughout its existence, S-21 was used to detain and torture more than 12,000 men, women and children. 

April 27:  Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father, will discuss her childhood experience under the Khmer Rouge. She is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Cartwright Hall Auditorium.

Ung will also discuss the reality of girls' education in contemporary Cambodia. Joining Ung is Jamie Ameilo, founder and CEO of Caring for Cambodia, a nonprofit organization committed to improving the educational system of Cambodia through the creation of more than twenty model schools.     

April 28: LinDa Saphan, a genocide survivor, and film director John Pirozzi will host a screening of their award winning film, Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll. They are scheduled for 7 p.m. in room 177 of the Schwartz Center.

Their film examines popular music from the pre-Khmer Rouge era and explores the impact of music in the struggle for political, ideological, and social change. The film depicts the musical and political history of Cambodia from the 1950s to the mid-1970s.

The series was developed to show what triggered the deadly confrontation between National Guard troops and anti-war demonstrators at Kent State on May 4, 1970, Mindy Farmer, director of the May 4 Visitors Center, said in a statement. 

We almost always get the answer 'the Vietnam War,' and that's true, mostly, but it is not as exact as it could be," she said. "The exact thing that triggered the May 4, 1970, shootings was President Nixon's April 30 announcement of the Cambodia Incursion which sparked outrage and led to 132 campus protests across the nation. So, this year, we are exploring that Cambodia and Kent State link. There is no better place in the world to explore that intersection than right here at Kent State."


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