Nephew Refuses to Talk About Duch
Stoung-Kompong Thom: “No one in the village talks about Kieu or Duch,” said senior villagers who are living in Chi Youk, Kompong Chen Tboung, Stoung, where Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Comrade Duch, was born. However, the people there generally called him “Kieu”.
In an old-fashioned house with tile roof and cement wall where it has been believed to be the inheritance from Duch’s parents and to be Duch’s birthplace, a man didn’t allow us to take photographs of the house either from outside or inside and refused to tell his name too. “This is my house. I have no relation with Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, at all,” he said. The man refused completely to say anything [about Duch] and reacted strongly by saying that: “[I] don’t know. [I] don’t hear. [I] don’t care about Duch.” However, he finally said that his father was also killed by the Khmer Rouge in 1977.
Meanwhile, Keu Michael, 58, a villager who used to lived with Duch, said that he was 4-5 years old younger than Duch. When he was growing up, he always saw Duch go to study. Duch was an intelligent student who had good relation and morality with others. Duch later on passed an exam to be a teacher of Mathematics at Skun, Kompong Thom. Concerning the question that: “Could Duch have become a brutal prison’s chief from a “generous” teacher?”, Keu Michael answered it could have been and gave the reason that prior to 1970, Duch had been imprisoned. “Moreover, there were some kind of ideology and other reasons that we don’t know,” he added.
Duch, 62, has been charged of crimes against humanity by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Though Duch only received orders to kill people in Tuol Sleng prison from top leaders, the well founded evidence suggests that Duch made false reports to the higher levels to purge prisoners.
Keu Michael said that as a teacher he could observe that less than ten percent of the students believed there was the ruthless Khmer Rouge regime although their teachers were trying to explain them. “Because it sounds too brutal,” he said. In Chi Youk, where Duch was born, the villagers do not usually talk about Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Kieu, commonly known as Duch, since Duch’s mother, siblings, nephews and nieces are still alive. So, if the villagers say that Duch was brutal and killed people, it could affect his family. Therefore, to avoid the discrimination, senior people in the village dare not to reveal Duch’s story to their children.
Keu Michael said that he supported and was happy with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal since he was also one of the millions of Cambodian victims. “During Pol Pot regime, I was imprisoned for one month without any reason,” he said, adding that he was satisfied with the indictment and [coming] trials of the Khmer Rouge leaders. “I don’t want to talk about Duch since I don’t want it to affect his family’s state of mind.” Keu Michael is a teacher of Mathematics in Rasmei Saophoan High School in Stoung and is living in Chi Youk, Duch’s birthplace. He used to be imprisoned in Stoung Security Center before he was fortunately released after one month.