Accuracy in Media

He
survived the cruelties of Communism in Cambodia and later emerged to be
one of the most influential opinion-leaders in modern America. Golden Bones is the title of Sichan Siv’s memoir, the story of a Cambodian-born immigrant to the United States.

His journey, as the Director of the Asian Studies’ Center at Heritage Foundation Walter Lohman put it, is “an extraordinary journey from hell in Cambodia.”

He said: “While the United States battled the Communists of North
Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, the neighboring country of Cambodia was
attacked from within by dictator Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer
Rouge imprisoned, enslaved, and murdered the educated and intellectual
members of the population, resulting in the harrowing ‘killing
fields’—rice paddies where the harvest yielded nothing but millions of
skulls.”

He continued: “Young Sichan Siv—a target since he was a university
graduate—was told by his mother to run and ‘never give up hope!’
Captured and put to work in a slave labor camp, Siv knew it was only a
matter of time before he would be worked to death or killed. With a
daring escape from a logging truck and a desperate run for freedom
through the jungle, including falling into a dreaded pungi pit, Siv
finally came upon a colorfully dressed farmer who said, ‘Welcome to
Thailand.’”

Speaking at the same function, Siv described his dramatic escape to
Thailand, eventual entry into the United States and his rise from
obscurity and ordinary life to represent the latter country at the United Nations.

“I enjoyed immense support from various top officials in D.C. during my
time in New York. The mission at the U.N had a fruitful time presenting
our case to other nations, and asking them to agree with us,” he said.

He recalled that presenting America’s position on human rights was easiest.

“I would not be making some abstract presentation when it came to human
rights. I would use my own personal story and have my audiences
appreciate the understanding that I had lived the subject matter,” he
said.

He expressed his joy at having served in the George H. Bush White House
as a public liaison officer, and for re-visiting Cambodia’s killing
field with then Secretary of State James Baker. He hailed U.S foreign
policy towards Cambodia, and praised its example of media freedom and
liberal democracy.

Radio, he said, is most powerful in such crisis situations as he had undergone.

“I recall attending an event for broadcasters in Atlanta at which
President Bush senior was the main speaker. I remember with pride when
he mentioned my name when talking about the link between radio and
freedom,” he said.

Radio, he recalled, would be the first thing anti-Communist villagers
in Cambodia lost whenever they were attacked, as it was their only
credible link to the outside world and messages of hope, change and
freedom.

His book, as is his personal re-telling of the story, is a portrayal of
the darkest passions of the human soul and the possibilities offered by
democracy.

His success in life and career after the fall of the Berlin Wall,
collapse of the Soviet Union and joy at changes in his native Cambodia
is testament to the strength of the human spirit, and its triumph
against the odds of tyranny.

The memoir is a sustained meditation on the workings of the New World
Order, and should interest anyone who is keen to understand the some
times very personal nuances of stories that emerge in this kind of
world.




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