“I remember the beauty and peace of Cambodia before the Khmer Rouge. Her people were generous and free-spirited. Her land was fertile, carpeted with rice fields, and her every monsoon a blessing… At night, the frogs croaked and crickets chirped. It was pure innocence in our big land.”
So begins the heart-rending tale of Seng Ty, and his experiences growing up in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge uprising. The youngest of 11 children, his life would be forever changed by the ruthless armies of the communist regime which sought to create an agrarian utopia through Maoist principles, mercilessly slaughtering and starving millions of Cambodians along the way.
Appearing under the guise of peace with claims of “saving” the people, the Khmer Rouge forced families from their homes in the cities into the countryside to cultivate the rice fields. But it doesn’t take long for the new government to reveal its true colors, and for the people to witness the brutal nature of their captors.
In this chilling first hand account, Seng Ty describes the inconceivable horrors that were thrust upon him at an early age at the hand of the Khmer Rouge, including forced labor, extreme starvation, the witnessing of brutal and violent executions, and the loss of his loved ones. Through it all, he shows superhuman courage, drawing strength from the memory and enduring words of his mother. Driven by his parents desire for a better future for him, he manages to withstand, again and again, the most harrowing of experiences and fights against all odds to survive.
Continue reading “The Years of Zero: Coming of Age Under the Khmer Rouge by Seng Ty”