Khmer Rouge anthems making an unlikely comeback in Cambodia
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2007 02:53:59 -0800
EXTRA: Khmer Rouge anthems making an unlikely comeback in Cambodia
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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