Peace, Justice and Human Rights.

Thursday, February 3, 2011



Ancient Khmer women had power. The 12th century Temples of Angkor are adorned with bas-relief carvings of  apsaras and devatas. Devatas are guardians of the religious shrines, their images of grace and beauty immortalized in stone. They wear crowns, elaborate hair styles and jewelry, and form sacred hand positions. The apsaras, or celestial dancers, enact stories, swaying in their bejeweled velvet and brocade costumes and golden headdresses. The apsaras' poses and slow, stylized movements express the wisdom of the ages. According to Hindu legend, apsara goddesses came from the ocean of milk, and held sway over both mortal and immortal men. Many questions about these classical deities remain unanswered.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black Diamond: The Story of Chanra

Black Diamond: The Story of Chanra is a work of fiction, based on real historical events and real people. Chanra shared her stories with me. The accounts of other killing fields survivors helped me to understand what she experienced.
Principal sources of this knowledge:
‘The Stones Cry Out: A Cambodian Childhood, 1975-1980’ by Molyda Szmusiak.
‘First They Killed My Father: A daughter of Cambodia remembers’ by Loung Ung.
‘When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up under the Khmer Rouge’ by Chanrithy Him.
‘Hear Me Now: Tragedy in Cambodia’ by Sophal Leng Stagg.
And the extraordinary story, ‘Haing Ngor: A Cambodian Odyssey.’
All of these books are recommended reading. I consulted numerous other sources on the history, politics, religion and customs of Cambodia.
The film 'The Killing Fields' inspired me.
Also, the PBS documentary ‘The Flute Player,’ with Arn Chorn-Pond. Cambodia lost so much traditional music during the Khmer Rouge genocide.