Saturday, January 29, 2011


Last night I attended a film screening for Enemies of the People. It is a film about a Cambodian man's journey to understand how and why the genocide took place in Cambodia from 1975-1979. Nearly 2 million Cambodians were killed during those few years, including the filmmaker's father, mother, and brother.

It was an incredibly powerful film, and the filmmaker was present to answer questions following the screening. While I watched the film, my heart ached for the people who spoke of losing family members, the sight of mass graves, and the guilt they carry for sins they had committed. Then, my heart was broken after the film when several Cambodians who were present spoke of their gratitude to Thet Sambath (the filmmaker) for sharing this with the world. Some of them spoke of their own experiences. Some of them spoke of how they have tried to understand what it must have been like for their parents and grandparents. And, they cried...

Emotions, especially for men, are generally viewed as completely unacceptable in Khmer culture. There is a saying in Cambodia that boys begin hearing from the time they are very young. "It is better to bleed than cry." Displays of emotion are not acceptable, and many times this does not even translate into tears, it translates into faces of stoicism. These men a room full of strangers...over the horrors in their past...about the nightmares they have had nearly everyday since.

God sees their tears. And, my hope is that they will now let Him wipe them away...

*Note: Though I do not know when, this film is supposed to be shown on PBS in America sometime this year, so continue to check your local listings because you do not want to miss it! Also, there are some screenings in the coming weeks, which are listed on the website, so if you live nearby any of those places, check it out!

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