ECCC Reparations

This blog is designed to serve as a repository of analyses, news reports and press releases related to the issue of RERAPATIONS within the framework of the Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Khmer Rouge anthems making an unlikely comeback in Cambodia

EXTRA: Khmer Rouge anthems making an unlikely comeback in Cambodia
Author: DPA
Category: World
Posted: Wed, 07 Nov 2007 08:00:04 GMT

Phnom Penh - Amongst the modern bootleg pop albums of the Cambodian capital's music markets, an unlikely competitor is increasingly appearing; as a trial of former leaders looms, Khmer Rouge revolutionary dirges are making a popular musical comeback. "They are not our best sellers, but they are very steady," says Vy, the proprietor of one of the city's many copy CD shops ringing Psar Thmei market. "I myself can't listen to them. I hear them for one minute and I am scared for three years."

But demand is strong enough for her to sell the grim compact discs of the regime's propaganda for 25 percent more than bootlegs of pop idols such as Korean pop superstar Rain and US diva Madonna.

The Angkar, as the Khmer Rouge called itself, played the songs at the mass dining halls as thin gruel was served to millions of citizens put to hard labour in the fields. There is no mention of love in the music, which often follows an aggressive theme.

With catchy titles such as "We do as the Angkar tells us, and thus have bumper crops" and "Every day we must rise up and attack", the songs reflect the 1975 to 1979 regime's cold ultra-Maoist bent which drove one of the worst massacres of the last century.

Khieu Bunna, 42, said he bought the songs despite classing himself as a victim of the regime, under which up to 2 million died.

"We do not buy this music because we support that regime. We buy it because we want to try to understand what made these people do what they did. What were they thinking?" he said.

Despite a flurry of information surrounding the 56-million-dollar joint UN-Cambodia tribunal, expected to begin hearings early next year, the schools largely ignores the period.

Up until now, most mass circulation newspapers have published Khmer Rouge-related stories reluctantly, saying it negatively affects circulation, meaning many Cambodians feel they have few sources to study the darkest period in their modern history.

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