First They Killed My father, Lucky Child
Lou Ung, a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, has written two books based on her life. The first book, First They Killed My Father, is about how she endured the work camps and trained as a child soldier at five years old under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge ruled during 1975-1979. Nearly two million people (25 percent of its population at the time) died under the dictator Pol Pot who died in 1998 at age 73. This history and its capitol is known as the Killing Fields.
There is also a book and movie called The Killing Fields based on the experiences of a Cambodian and American Journalist.
A memorial is based out of the capitol Phnom Penh to honor those who were lost and as a reminder of the tragic past in Cambodia’s history to never forget. It is a place to educate both Cambodians and foreigners who visit Cambodia and built around the mass graves that had been discovered from this period. A Khmer Rouge survivor has also built a Killing Fields Museum in Seattle, Wa.
Lou Ung’s second book is Lucky Child that tells the story of the aftermath of her traumatic childhood and the transition as a new refugee to the United States. Lou Ung has been through much, more than most see in a life time. She has been able to take her life experiences and turn them into her life’s work starting with telling her story and then her activism.
There is now a new movie being made based on her story with Angelina Jolie will be directing for Netflix along with her adopted son Maddox, also Cambodian, working behind the scenes. Both Angelina and Lou Ung met back in 2001 and wrote the script together. They have become friends. Lou Ung says she completely trust Jolie with the telling of her story.
Filming will start in November of 2015. Jolie has stated that this “will be my tribute to the strength and dignity of all Cambodian people.”
I also was honored to meet and talk with Lou Ung. A small woman in stature, but mighty in heart and spirit. She has continued to make me proud to be Cambodian. Please check out books and movie when it comes to Netflix.