Photo: The New York Times: “In 1979, Mr. Dith escaped over the Thai border. He returned to Cambodia in the summer of 1989, at the invitation of Prime Minister Hun Sen. At left, Mr. Dith visited a museum at Tuol Sleng that is the site of the torture of 20,000 people, almost all of whom were also killed.”
I was killing time Sunday afternoon waiting for my friend to finish up something when I came across the news while surfing the web on my mobile phone, that Cambodian-American New York Times photojournalist Dith Pran died of pancreatic cancer at age 65. Who is Dith Pran you ask? His story was told in the Academy Award winning film, “The Killing Fields” as we as described in “Dith Pran, ‘Killing Fields’ Photographer, Dies at 65” article:
“Mr. Dith saw his country descend into a living hell as he scraped and scrambled to survive the barbarous revolutionary regime of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, when as many as two million Cambodians — a third of the population — were killed, experts estimate. Mr. Dith survived through nimbleness, guile and sheer desperation. His credo: Make no move unless there was a 50-50 chance of not being killed. He had been a journalistic partner of Mr. Schanberg, a Times correspondent assigned to Southeast Asia. He translated, took notes and pictures, and helped Mr. Schanberg maneuver in a fast-changing milieu. With the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975, Mr. Schanberg was forced from the country, and Mr. Dith became a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge, the Cambodian Communists.”
Upon escaping from Cambodia, Pran continued to work for the New York Times and eventually became an American citizen. Pran coined the term “The Killing Fields” for how he described the Cambodian genocide. If you haven’t seen The Killing Fields, you should. Pran continued to speak out and seek justice against Khmer Rouge and create awareness of on going genocide in the world today. May he rest in peace.