Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dith Pran, RIP

Dith Pran, whose horrifying escape from Cambodia is detailed in the film, The Killing Fields, has passed away at age 65. If this world displayed karmic justice, he would have been around for many more years.

A few years ago, following a trip to Cambodia, I had a few questions about Khmer Rouge policies during the genocide. I sent an email to The Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project and, to my surprise, received a prompt, courteous and very helpful response directly from Mr. Pran. A brief encounter, certainly, but of the type that suggests he was a man worth knowing.

it is difficult to describe Cambodia. There's a striking mix of stunning beauty and abject poverty. Signs and scars of the genocide are pervasive, both on the land and on the people. A few years ago I shared some of my thoughts about my visit.

In 1996, the actor who depicted Mr. Pran in the movie, Haing S. Ngor, was murdered in Los Angeles. Mr. Ngor had also escaped Pol Pot's Cambodia. Although some believe he was murdered in revenge for his opposition to the Khmer Rouge, it appears to have been an unfortunate act of gang violence.

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