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Thet Sambath Looks Behind the Killing Fields in Print and On Screen

Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath continues to dig for the truth behind the killing fields in his writings and on screen. He coauthored Behind the Killing Fields: A Khmer Rouge Leader and One of His Victims with Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon. Thet also collaborated on the documentary film Enemies of the People which will be screened at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York beginning June 18.

New York Times film critic Stephen Holden praised the reporter for his work on the documentary:

Enemies of the People. . . is an inspiring film. To hear people recall committing unspeakable acts while under duress is liberating for them and for us. And the story of Mr. Thet Sambath, who spent years researching and interviewing, is a testament to one man’s persistent search for the truth. The faces and voices of these ordinary people forced to kill raises the age-old question: Who, in the same situation, would have acted differently?

In the film, as in the book Behind the Killing Fields, Thet attempts to dissect the heart of political violence by confronting Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea, a. k. a. Brother Number 2, Pol Pot's top lieutenant during the 1970s. As a survivor of this  bloody regime, Thet offers a critical perspective to one of the darkest episodes in world history.