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Published in Bangkok - Thailand by Asia Horizons Books Co., Ltd www.asiahorizons.com

First published : March 2000 Second edition : October 2005 This edition : August 2009 All materials Š by Roland Neveu Text and captions edited by Ben Davies CAMBODIA, The Years of Turmoil is the copyright of Roland Neveu and Asia Horizons Books Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying or any other way including the internet) without prior written consent of Asia Horizons Books Co Ltd and its representatives worldwide. ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ARE THE PROPERTY AND SOLE COPYRIGHT OF ROLAND NEVEU. Design & layout by Asia Horizons Books Co.,Ltd. Printed in Bangkok. Enquiries about distribution should be directed to the following Email: info@asiahorizons.com ISBN 974-93404-2-6 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I wishes to thank my wife Ko and my kids Mimi and Marco for their teamwork. Beside my family, a number of friends and acquaintances have also played an important part along the 30 years spanned by the pictures in this book. Unfortunately I can’t name them all here, but I give them my warmest regards and thanks.

www.rolandneveu info


PHOTOGRAPHS AND STORY bY ROLAND NEVEU TExT AND cAPTiONS EDiTED bY bEN DAViES

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WA R-TO R N K I N G D OM FA LL OF PHN OM PEN H YEARS OF DARKNESS PRECARIOUS TIMES B AC K O N STA G E SOUL SEARCHING

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n the summer of 1973, as I turned 23, I packed my bags and flew to Phnom Penh, just in time to see the last B-52 raids on the Cambodian countryside. It was monsoon season and the land was flooded for miles on end. To the south of the city, US Airforce Phantom jets were dive-bombing the Khmer Rouge forward positions a short distance beyond the Lon Nol front-line soldiers. At night, the distant sound of shelling gave way to the chattering of crickets and the lazy singsong of geckoes. It was the start of a love affair with Cambodia that has lasted more than three decades. I had been studying sociology in a French University, but campus life bored me. Every night, stories and pictures of the Vietnam War flashed across the television screen in my small apartment on Rue de la Gare in Rennes, the capital city of Brittany. As a student and aspiring photo-journalist, I had taken photographs of mass-protests and factory sit-ins, often broken up by baton-wielding riot police with tear gas. However the events seemed far removed from the real world. For two months, I worked on night shifts at a petrol station to pay for my plane ticket. In early August, I caught the Air France flight to Bangkok, the main transit point for Indochina. Twelve hours later, I transferred onto the Air Cambodge Caravelle jet for the hour-long hop to Phnom Penh, arriving in the scorching mid-day sun. My life changed in those first few days. The tropical calm of the humid monsoons bathed the place in an air of unreality. On some mornings, a friend and I, would take a bus down Route 4 toward Kompong Speu, where the sounds of machine gun fire would echo through the almost deserted countryside. When the firing died down, the villagers would return to the fields, planting rice and making offerings at the spirit houses to ensure a good harvest.

On other days, we would accompany government troops on mop up operations along the front lines. The young soldiers would laugh to see us walking with them in the flooded paddy fields. More than once, we found ourselves leading the platoon despite the threat of Khmer Rouge sniper attacks or the ever-present danger of minefields. Glancing back, we would see the soldiers crouched behind bushes, making desperate signs for us to stop. The countryside was always at its most peaceful before an ambush. You could almost hear the sound of your own heart beating. There was little that was romantic, however, about the suffering that went on all around us. I will always remember the haunted eyes of women whose husbands had gone out on patrol and never returned or the faces of children, some as young as ten years old, dressed in full battle gear, heading for the front lines to join their fathers. Only our relative youth and sense of adventure enabled us foreign photographers and journalists to hide behind a thin veil of unreality.

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uring those first weeks in Phnom Penh, I stayed in a spartan room at the Hotel International, a few blocks down from the Central Market. It was a cheap and friendly place filled with travelers who had come from all over the world in search of adventure. A handful of Khmers had also taken up residence here to avoid the conflict raging in their provincial towns. They talked incessantly of the Khmer Rouge and of the war that was slowly bleeding the country and their families. Later, I moved into an unoccupied apartment at the ’Front de Bassac’, after the French teacher who had been living there returned to France. Most of the freelance photographers in town hung out around the collec-

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tion of friendly cafés near the Post office and the Sukhalay Hotel. We were a mixed bag of people ranging from students like myself to experienced war hands - each of us looking for our own big break. Occasionally, we might be offered work by one of the major news agencies or by a locally based correspondent. But for the most part we chose our own assignments, heading out to wherever the fighting was fiercest. My first trip to Cambodia lasted seven weeks. Although Phnom Penh was cheap for foreigners, I ran out of money and out of film. In all, I had sold only two pictures to the Associated Press (AP) for fifty dollars. It was time to go back home. The French army was now waiting for me to undertake my year of mandatory national service, which had been pushed back because of my university enrolment. It was the ultimate irony: to spend one year stranded at a military camp in the South of France, thousands of miles from air strikes and shelling. I was bored and restless. I spent much of the time reflecting on my trip to Cambodia.

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n 1975, after six months working backstage with the “Holiday on Ice” troupe in Europe, I decided to head back to Indochina. The situation had sharply deteriorated in Cambodia. The capital was regularly under heavy rocket attack and refugees were flooding into the city from all over the country. March is still cold in France and tropical horizons beckoned. I took off again for Phnom Penh, uncertain this time of when I would return. The scene on my arrival was much more dramatic than it had been in 1973. The war had reached the villages surrounding the city and all roads out to the provinces had been cut. Every day, an endless procession

of Flying Tiger supply airplanes would arrive from Tan Son Nhat Airbase near Saigon. The moment their wheels touched the tarmac, they would spew their precious cargo of food and ammunition on to the side of the runway before taking off again to avoid Khmer Rouge anti-aircraft guns beating down on the capital. A few boat-convoys carrying sacks of rice and fuel fought their way up the Mekong until US airforce planes mistakenly bombed the key government position at Neak Long, removing the government forces’ last line of defence on the road to Saigon. We could feel Phnom Penh being choked. Tens of thousands of civilians poured into the city to escape the fighting. It was as if the whole place was slowly drowning beneath a tidal wave of corruption and despair. Before leaving Paris, I had gone to see Gamma Photo Agency in the hope of getting some assignments from them. Nothing had come of it. The town started to fill up with photographers whose work I had seen in magazines around the world. Don Mc Cullin, the veteran Sunday Times photographer was there as well as Philip Jones Griffith of Magnum and several other internationally renowned photographers. A few days after my arrival, Jean Claude Francolon, one of the co-founders of Gamma flew into town. We met by chance along Route 6 under a hail of bullets that pinned us down behind a palm tree opposite a bombed out Japanese bridge. When a couple of days later his agency asked him to go to Saigon and catch up with the retreating South Vietnamese army near Danang, he gave me a few shipping envelopes and said: “If you want to stay here, try your best and send your films to Paris whenever you can. Good luck!” From that day on, I found myself taking photographs for what was then the biggest news photo agency in the world.


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he fighting intensified around Phnom Penh. Every day there were attacks and counter-attacks on Route 2 and Route 4 leading out of the city. Rockets rained down onto the airport leaving sudden plumes of smoke that only slowly dissipated over the surrounding paddies. Despite the constant talk of a cease-fire, the boom of heavy artillery continued for hours on end. I often teamed up with a young photographer named Arnaud Borrel, who had just arrived from France. We stayed at the Sukhalay Hotel, which at one dollar a night was a popular hangout for freelancers. It was conveniently located on Monivong Boulevard, a stone’s throw from the Phnom Hotel (now rechristened The Royal). Arnaud turned 20 in that first week and we celebrated at the Cafe de Paris with ‘omelette norvégienne’ and cheap Champagne still available in a city depleted of most luxury goods. Residing on the same floor of the hotel was Ennio, an Italian photographer who had been married to a former Miss Saigon and who had lived in Cambodia for years. Almost every afternoon we dropped by his neat living quarters for a briefing that inevitably took place over a bottle of imported whisky and a pile of military maps. Ennio was especially famous for his ranger boots. They were shinier than the boots worn by the guards at Chamcarmon Palace.

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n early April, the government imposed a curfew on Phnom Penh. Military police were instructed to arrest anyone who ventured out of their homes after 8pm. Soon, the once lively streets of the city were deserted. At night, we would gather in the restaurant next to the Sukhalay and play cards, reminiscing about the good times we had before coming to Cambodia. In the morn-

ings, I would drive a rented 70cc Honda motorcycle down Route 1 or Route 5 to the front lines, where straggling soldiers were trying to halt the advancing Khmer Rouge. An air of desperation clung to these young inexperienced troops dressed in tattered fatigues and ill-fitting boots--or sometimes even bare feet. Rarely did they even see the enemy who would melt away at their approach only to regroup hours later for a new wave of attacks. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, the noose tightened around Phnom Penh. As the Khmer Rouge came within range of the city, they aimed their rockets at Chamcarmon Palace where the ailing President Lon Nol was holed up under roundthe-clock guard. Wild rumours circulated amongst the locals and the shelling became more frequent. An inaudible sense of fear gripped Phnom Penh as people sensed that the end was near. On the morning of April 11, we awoke to hear the news that local people had long dreaded. An official radio broadcast announced that Lon Nol, the president of Cambodia, had departed to Hawaii and that his brother, General Lon Non had taken command of what was left of this shambolic country. If before, anybody had harboured any illusion of hope, the news sent convulsions of fear through the mass of refugees who had crowded into the city and its suburbs. Lon Nol’s departure signalled the beginnings of a final exodus. Khmer families with the money and the connections had for months been working to secure visas to America or France. Now they were trying to get out on one of the few aeroplanes that dared to fly in and out of Pochentong. Politicians and corrupt bureaucrats were amongst the first to leave for either Bangkok or Saigon. They were followed by Chinese and Vietnamese clutching

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their few possessions packed in cardboard boxes, but with gold invariably strapped to their body. The final curtain fell on April 13. At around eight o’clock in the morning, the US embassy began to evacuate its remaining personnel. A wave of Chinook and Sikorsky helicopters swooped down onto a nearby school playground, airlifting the few hundred passengers to aircraft carriers waiting off the coast in the Gulf of Thailand. As word swept the city that the last Americans were leaving, a few people rushed out onto the streets near the embassy, whilst a crowd assembled outside the school fence watching the helicopters landing and taking off. Several government officials also showed up, asking to be flown out of the doomed city, in the hope that they would get a better life in America or another country. After the last wave of helicopters had vanished from the horizon, everything went quiet. There was a brief lull in the fighting. Those of us who had remained behind suddenly felt small and vulnerable. That night, I sat in Ennio’s room with Arnaud and a Khmer friend. We were tired out by the events of the day and the stifling humidity that drained every single ounce of energy from our bodies. Over a dwindling supply of whisky, we discussed whether we would be able to work under the Khmer Rouge who now held our fate in their hands. Would they allow us to move around freely and report what was going on or would we be imprisoned or worse still executed. Would they confiscate our films or our cameras? There were no ready answers. Hours later and with few clear ideas, I stumbled to bed and fell into a fitful sleep in a fanless sweltering night as the electric power was off again.

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he next day, which was a Sunday, thousands of people and soldiers on ox-carts and trucks flooded into the city centre. Many of them had walked dozens of kilometers bare foot, clutching their few goods in rice sacks and cardboard boxes. Half starved and consumed by fear, they shuffled slowly through the streets of the capital, not knowing where they would go next. In the early afternoon, I drove out to Pochentong Airport and watched as the last Caravelle aircraft took off for Bangkok where it was subsequently impounded by the Thai authorities. With every route out of the country now blocked, the last chance to leave had evaporated. Later that day, shells hit the fuel depots and the airport was declared off limits by the Military Police. The government imposed a 24-hour curfew over the city, but amidst the chaos, nobody appeared to notice. I was running out of money and out of film as well. A Khmer girl friend had fled on my rented motorcycle to her family house in Takmau and never returned. It was the end. Food was becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. Soon even the power supply went off for good. A strange feeling of quiet anarchy hung in the air. Like most foreigners, I confined myself to the centre of town around Monivong Boulevard and the Phnom Hotel which remained open for guests and was the last recourse for foreign reporters. Outside, the mood had turned nasty. Crowds of increasingly desperate people besieged the few gas stations and bakeries that were still open, fighting over the remaining supplies. A cloud of black smoke hung ominously over the city from the giant oil depot on Route 5 which had been hit by rockets. Monday came and went amidst a flood of conflicting reports. All that we knew for certain was that the government army was crumbling and that a disgruntled pilot


had dropped a bomb over the Army Headquarters in the middle of town. Phnom Penh was like a ripe fruit ready to fall and nothing could save it. The following day we awoke to relative calm. In the morning, the Red Cross designated the Phnom Hotel as an official safe haven. Hundreds of Khmers gathered outside the gates in the hope that they could take refuge, but many were turned back due to lack of water and space. For the journalists who had stayed on, there was a different set of problems. With the power supply off and the phone lines dead, filing stories had become a logistical nightmare. For us photographers, the situation was even more critical. It was now virtually impossible to get our films out of Cambodia. The Monivong Boulevard was jammed with people retreating from the northern part of the city, coming from Route 5. There was no more shooting or signs of panic; just a steady mass of humanity moving along the tree lined avenue. On that Tuesday night, I stayed with a group of French residents in the vicinity of the French Embassy. We could clearly hear sporadic fighting on the edge of town with sudden bursts of gunfire followed by long and unnerving silences. Around midnight, we agreed to move to the French compound in search of food and news. Despite the late hour, nobody was sleeping. A small group of French diplomats and journalists huddled together in the consular section of the Embassy turned campsite, discussing the latest events in quiet whispers. Some people talked of a possible cease-fire, others of the possibility of a new government or even an open city where we would all be free to come and go. Holed up in the embassy compound with little reliable information to go on, anything sounded possible. I finally got some rest in the spacious hall that had

once been used to entertain visiting French executives and local dignitaries. Using my camera bag as a pillow, I stretched out on the wooden floor. But it was to be a short night’s sleep. A little after four o’clock, heavy fighting erupted at the main power station which lay close to the embassy. The battle lasted until well after daybreak. The crossroads opposite the French compound - where only hours earlier the last soldiers were seen racing down Monivong towards the city centre - was now deserted. I found myself stranded inside the embassy compound together with a handful of other reporters. A cloud of silence hung heavily over the city. At 8 am, from behind the main gates of the French embassy, we glimpsed a small group of heavily armed soldiers walking cautiously past the large roundabout towards Monivong Boulevard. I had seen the badly disfigured corpses of Khmer Rouge soldiers on several occasions, but this was the first time I had seen one alive in the flesh. Most of the foreign press corps was in the same position. We had no idea whether to go out into the streets with our cameras or to remain inside our sanctuary. At first nobody moved. Then a few young children holding hastily made white flags above their heads walked out to meet the approaching soldiers. The ice was broken. The children started cheering wildly. I led a handful of reporters through the gates of the embassy, my two Nikon cameras dangling around my neck. Walking gingerly across the road, we approached the soldiers, still enjoying their first moments of victory. I started taking pictures of them. It was Wednesday April 17 and the Khmer Rouge, after five years of fighting had taken Phnom Penh.

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was relieved that the war had ended, but apprehensive about the future. After the first Khmer Rouge units had taken the city, we took pictures of stony faced soldiers, unable to comprehend the enormity of what they had just achieved. As the day wore on, the mood turned sour. When the Khmer Rouge ordered everyone out of the city, we were thrown into confusion. Were the Americans going to bomb the city as some Khmer Rouge cadres were claiming through loudspeakers? Seeking an answer, I rode down Monivong Boulevard with a truckload of soldiers who smelt worse than beggars on a pavement in Paris. Then came a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. Not far from the Chamcarmon Palace, a soldier caught sight of my cameras and rammed his AK47 rifle into my stomach. I was only saved when a sudden burst of mortar rounds and shots exploded around us, forcing everyone to run for cover. By the time the shooting had stopped, I had managed to get away, retracing my steps to the main boulevard. The situation had now changed dramatically. While retreating towards the Phnom Hotel, I came across a fellow photographer named Zoco who had just had his camera taken away by soldiers. It became increasingly dangerous to take pictures. Khmer Rouge with loudspeakers were urging people to leave their houses. As crowds thronged the streets, I managed to retreat to my old room at the Sukhalay Hotel. Grabbing my only bag, I decided to make my way to the French Embassy compound in order to put my films in a secure place. Worn out by the heat and the chaos, I ended up staying there like many of my colleagues, thinking that the next day would provide a better idea of what was happening. That first evening, hundreds of people amassed

outside the gates of the French Embassy, desperate to enter in the hope that the embassy would become a safe haven. During the next few days foreigners of every nationality were herded into this one designated enclave. But most of the local people were barred from coming in. Eventually, even those Khmers who had managed to find a way inside were thrown out into the street under the scrutiny of Khmer Rouge cadres. Wild with fear, they stared blankly at us as they confronted their uncertain future. A few Khmers avoided almost certain death when the French authorities used their remaining supply of blank passports to create new identities. A handful of foreigners, including my friend Arnaud, held last minute weddings in a selfless effort to save lives. Our days inside the embassy compound soon gave way to monotony. We were prisoners, cut off from the outside world, and guarded around-the-clock by armed Khmer Rouge soldiers. Our food consisted of a meagre plate of rice each day. Water was rationed. During the day we lay out on mats in shady areas of the compound, listening to the BBC radio. At night we slept on mattresses, arranged in the main room of the Ambassador’s residence. The place resembled a refugee camp with as many as one thousand of us awaiting deportation. Outside the walls of the compound, a murderous new order was taking shape, of which we were almost wholly unaware. On the second day of our internment, we witnessed a grim procession. From the next door hospital, a line of dying patients was being pushed in their beds along the Monivong Boulevard towards Route 5 going north. Although we had little idea of where they were being taken, we sensed the worst. By the end of the third day, Phnom Penh was deserted except for a few Khmer


Rouge soldiers. We could hear them putting their driving skills to the test on abandoned cars with a furious crashing of gears. Sometimes they came to stare at us, the white enemy, their faces masked with hatred. After more than two weeks in internment, we were growing increasingly fearful for our lives. Then one morning, after what seemed like an eternity, our imprisonment came to an abrupt end. A line of derelict Chinese army trucks drew up outside the embassy bristling with armed Khmer Rouge cadres clad in black pyjamas. Under the watchful eyes of our captors, the French vice-consul read out a list of names, mainly comprising women and children who were ordered to join up with the first convoy. It took several hours before the trucks eventually departed. Those of us who remained behind were told that another convoy would follow shortly. We waited five long days before we saw the empty trucks returning to the gates of the Embassy. Then it was our turn to climb on board. Some three hundred of us were crammed inside and driven out of Phnom Penh. We reached the border village of Poipet after almost three days trucking down forest tracks and dilapidated roads through monsoon rain alternating with scorching sun. After a last roll call, we walked across the bridge into Thailand, to be ushered into air-conditioned buses bound for Bangkok.

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uddenly, it was all over. A silent curtain had been drawn over Cambodia. In those first weeks and months, with the country’s borders sealed, nobody could have imagined the suffering that was being inflicted on millions of Cambodians as they re-entered the dark ages. In August 1975, I visited the Thai border at Aranyaprathet and Surin to hear reports of atrocities

from a few refugees who had risked their lives to escape. But it took me until August 1979 before I was able to cross the border. Skirting units of Thai soldiers who had imposed martial law on the area, I was escorted over the border by a heavily armed guerrilla group under the control of Kong Sila. In this virtual no-man’s land dotted with mines, I witnessed the early stages of what was to become one of the largest refugee crises of the 1980s. For three weeks, I stayed in the Cambodian forest along the Thai border together with thousands of Khmers who were fleeing their own country. Most of these people were virtually starving, their diet consisting of a few roots, rodents or insects plucked out of the forest. Almost everyone I spoke to had their own pitiful tale of suffering under the iron grip of Pol Pot and his ruling clique named the Angkar. Between 1979-83, I was based in Bangkok. From there, I travelled frequently to the border area, a fivehour journey to the east. Despite the invasion of the Vietnamese army in 1979, a veil of secrecy remained over the country. The closest that most of us could get to the new Cambodia was along the Thai Cambodian border where the smuggling of basic commodities flourished. During this period, I kept in close contact with several warlords who controlled jungle fiefdoms to the north and south of the Thai village of Aranyaprathet. For two years, it became almost my second home. Sometimes I would visit the border refugee camps where tens of thousands of Khmers lived in horrific conditions crowded together in a sea of mud and refuse. On other occasions I would accompany these armed ragtag armies on raids against Vietnamese patrols operating a short distance inside Cambodian territory. In the countryside, the local people were once again beginning to travel to outlying districts,

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stretching the relatively new freedom of movement which had prevailed since the dismantling of the Khmer Rouge prison-state. After four years of mental and physical torture, the period of total darkness had come to an end.

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y return to Phnom Penh on New Year’s Eve 1981 was to a very different world. At first, the place seemed almost deserted, but as we drove through this run-down city of 100,000 new inhabitants, the memories came rushing back. Locals moved about on foot, donkey and cyclo, just as they had in May 1975 on the day that we were driven out by the Khmer Rouge. Peace had returned to Phnom Penh, although the truth about the reign of terror was only now emerging. The torture chambers of Tuol Sleng - the school turned prison - and its meticulously kept records of brutality and execution were the first horrific finds. Then mass graves were discovered at the village of Chœung Ek. Several other reporters and I took the pictures that were eventually to shock the world. I spent a few weeks in and around the capital watching as this poor and broken country attempted to climb back onto its own feet. The following years, however, did not relieve the pain and suffering for the majority of Cambodians, especially those living in refugee camps on the Thai border. Fighting continued, albeit in small pockets of land. Much of the countryside remained booby-trapped with millions of mines. In all, tens of thousands of men, women and children have been killed or maimed by these instruments of terror, probably the highest per capita figure of any country on earth. In mid-1989, during a two-month stay in Cambodia, I drove back to Poipet Bridge in the company

of Sydney Schanberg and the first United Nations team who had come to evaluate the country 14 years after they had been expelled. It was August and the landscape was once again lush with the monsoon rains. Along the road, villagers were tending to their crops, which had been devastated by years of neglect. Approaching the bridge from the Cambodian side was like a scene out of an adventure movie. On all sides thick trees and tropical undergrowth had sprouted up, concealing the rusting metal structure. The narrow path that provided the only access to the bridge had been demined by Khmer army personnel hours earlier. For Schanberg and the UN team, it was a pitiful reminder of what had taken place in their absence. On this bridge linking Cambodia with Thailand, we experienced a virtual re-enactment of our expulsion fourteen years earlier. The two neighboring countries were now poles apart. Thailand, a newly emerging ‘asian tiger’ was enjoying exponential growth whilst Cambodia, which used to be an exporter of rice, had been reduced to one of the poorest countries on earth with only the very basics of a working economy.

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everal weeks later, the Vietnamese, under international pressure, agreed to withdraw their army from Cambodia. The withdrawal brought to a close their 10-year occupation and effort to control Cambodia. I watched as units of the Vietnamese soldiers marched for the last time out of Stung Treng in the north of the country, climbing onto trucks and crossing back over the eastern border from where they had come. Throughout the 1990s, I returned often to Cambodia as the country entered a period of fragile recovery under a United Nations sponsored peace settlement.


Following the signing of the Paris agreement, thousands of UN soldiers poured into the country. They brought with them billions of dollars of gleaming new hardware as well as international aid money that fuelled a short-lived economic boom. When elections took place in May 1993, I watched once again as Khmers from all walks of life travelled by foot, by bicycle and by ox cart to UN manned mobile polling booths to cast their ballot in Cambodia’s first free elections in more than 25 years. Many were euphoric at the prospects of peace after so many decades of war. Yet one of the biggest ever UN operations ended in failure despite a more than 2 billion dollar budget. Despite efforts to disarm the Khmer Rouge and the factions that opposed them, some Cambodians refused to lay down their weapons. And whilst Prince Sihanouk returned to his beloved Palace as king, several hundred thousand refugees came back to their homeland only to find that their promised plots of land had been turned into mine-fields. In the years since then, hopes for lasting peace have been repeatedly dashed. In April 1998, I awoke to hear the news that Pol Pot, known as Brother Number One, was dead – killed either by his own Khmer Rouge soldiers for whom he had become a liability or by the cerebral malaria that had been eating away at his troops for decades. He died in a hastily built shack on the Thai border, shortly before he was slated to face a still undecided international tribunal. A few months later, Ta Mok, his right hand man, nicknamed the butcher of Cambodia was caught near Anlong Veng, the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge. Only now are a handfull of Khmer Rouge leaders being tried by an international tribunal which may finally put the ghosts of so many Cambodians to rest.

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t is almost 40 years since I flew to Phnom Penh for the first time, and in many ways, it’s like visiting a different world. Where once the streets of Phnom Penh were virtually empty, now traffic suffocates the flame tree-lined avenues. A wave of consumerism has swept through this capital city which is safe from land mines, but not from muggings. These days, foreigners are a common sight in Cambodia and, thanks to hundreds of relief agencies and international aid organizations, real progress has been made in demining the landscape. In many parts of the country, hospitals and clinics have been rebuilt whilst efforts are being made to overhaul the country’s chronically weak infrastructure and administration, although at a slow pace. But even now, greed and corruption remain endemic at almost every level of society. The silent majority is once again struggling to make a living, driven by dreams of a television, a motorcycle or some other symbol of the global consumer boom sweeping the country’s urban centers and villages alike. History suggests that the Khmer people have only responded to ruthless leadership. This is as true of the glorious Angkor period between the 9th and 13th Centuries as it is of the recent traumatic chapter under the Khmer Rouge. If I can be allowed one wish, it is that the 21st Century can change that pattern forever and pave the way for lasting peace and prosperity for all Cambodians.

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Near Route 4, August 1973 An orphan joins the ranks of ill-equipped ground troops in the knowledge that at least he will be fed.

Near Route 4, August 1973 A soldier plays with a pair of skulls from dead Khmer Rouge.

Route 6, March 1975 A child holds on to the machine-gun of his father who is preparing for battle.


WAR-TORN KINGDOM


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The war-torn countryside, south of Phnom Penh, July 1973 Lon Nol troops supported by American fighter-bombers advance near the town of Samrong, 20 km from the airport. The planes had been conducting aerial bombing of forward Khmer Rouge positions, a few hundred meters away from the government front line.


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Route 5 near Ang Snul, August 1973 Elite ground troops stationed in a temple compound North of Phnom Penh kill time with a game of chess. Their brief respite follows months of bloody confrontation.


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Thnal Totueng on Route 4, July 1973 Government soldiers assemble in this bombed-out village before going out on patrol. Women and children stay in the camp, anxiously awaiting the return of the family bread winner.


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Near Route 4, August 1973 An orphan joins the ranks of ill-equipped ground troops in the knowledge that at least he will be fed.

Near Route 4, August 1973 A soldier plays with a pair of skulls from dead Khmer Rouge.

Route 6, March 1975 A child holds on to the machine-gun of his father who is preparing for battle.


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On the banks of the Mekong River, March 1975 Government soldiers killed in an operation to the south of the city are brought back near the Japanese bridge by navy boats. Grieving families from Phnom Penh and surrounding villages come to collect the bodies.


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Young Soldier, July 1973 The Lon Nol government, unable to recruit sufficient numbers of experienced soldiers had to rely on anybody who was prepared to fight. This boy of thirteen joined a front line unit near the besieged village of Samrong, to the southwest of the capital.


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Tuol Kok, near Phnom Penh, March 1975 Peasants who have been driven out of their villages flood into the city in search of food. Army checkpoints cannot stop them from escaping war and famine.


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Route 5, March 1975 Ang Snul, 25 kilometers north of Phnom Penh. A road through no man’s land during a lull in the fighting. Only a handful of soldiers venture close to the Khmer Rouge positions. It’s part of a dangerous game played by those who believe that they are protected by amulets and Sanskrit tattoos on their bodies.


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Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh, March 1975 A brief respite for this family who finds shelter at a makeshift refugee camp in the stadium at the centre of the city.


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Pochentong Airport, March 1975 Despite rocket shelling from Khmer Rouge positions situated less than 10 kilometers away, the airport remains open. But the casualties are mounting day by day.


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Takmau, March 1975 Wounded government soldiers have a better chance of finding a bed in one of the illequipped city hospitals. Their relatives stay in the hospital to look after them as medical staff are in short supply.


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Left - Phnom Penh, March 1975 As government troops around the capital retreat in disarray, increasing numbers of soldiers abandon the front lines and return to their families.

Above: A Phnom Penh hospital, March 1975 To counter rumors of systematic execution, the authorities show the press a special section of a city hospital usually offlimits where Khmer Rouge prisoners are held.

Near the airport, April 1975 A Tiger Airline cargo-plane flies over Pochentong market. This was the last lifeline for the suffocating city.

American Embassy, 12 April 1975 Since early morning, secret evacuation orders had been passed around reporters and a few Cambodians. Operation Eagle Pull was underway in the Gulf of Thailand and a wave of helicopters had begun airlifting Americans and several other nationals to an awaiting aircraft carrier. By early afternoon, the operation is over and a strange silence falls on the capital.


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Near the American Embassy, 12 April 1975 Thousands of Cambodians gather behind a school perimeter fence to witness the final evacuation of USand foreign nationals. The sight confirmed what many people already suspected. The fate of Cambodia was sealed and it was only a matter of time before the bitter end.


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Sukhalay Hotel, April 1975 Following the departure of most journalists and photographers, we hold a crisis meeting to work out what to do when the Khmer Rouge take the city. This photograph was taken next door, in the room of my neighbor Ennio at the Sukhalay Hotel.


37

Pochentong Airport, April 1975 With the airport virtually under siege, every available plane is put into use by Cambodians desperate to escape their country for Saigon or Bangkok


38

Pochentong Airport, April 1975 Shells rain down on Pochentong Airport, posing a growing threat for the small airlines that continue to operate. Airport personnel with helmets and flack jackets find themselves in the line of fire many times each day.


39

Pochentong, 13 April 1975 The day after the American airlift, the airport is subjected to heavy rocket attack. This last barrage eventually closes it down, adding a few more casualties to a long list. The capital is now sealed off from the outside world.


41

Monivong Boulevard, 16 April 1975 In the final hours before the fall of Phnom Penh, heavy fighting flares up on the outskirts of the city driving the population towards the city centre. Along Monivong Boulevard, terrified refugees look for a safe haven to spend the night.


42

Phnom Penh, 17 April 1975 A Khmer Rouge soldier poses for my camera in the early hours. A weary combatant makes his way down Monivong Boulevard. The Khmer Rouge order the population to leave the city and instruct foreigners to regroup inside the French Embassy. Hundreds of affluent Khmers attempt to seek asylum from the French authorities.


FALL OF PHNOM PENH


44

Monivong Boulevard, 17 April 1975 A convoy of trucks and armoured personnel carriers commandeered by the victorious Khmer Rouge drives through the city centre, whilst crowds gather on main avenues to celebrate the end of the war.


46

Monivong Boulevard, 17 April 1975 In the early morning, as the last fighting rages in the Tuol Kok area, soldiers and civilians retreat towards the city centre, seen from a vantage point near the Calmette hospital.


47

Near the French Embassy Compound, 17 April 1975 fter a few hours of sporadic gunfire, a group of Khmer Rouge regulars enters the city. Several civilians go out to meet them waving white flags.


49

Opposite the French Embassy, 17 April 1975 Victorious Khmer Rouge soldiers are cheered on by a crowd of youngsters, relieved that the war has finally ended.


50

Monivong, 17 April 1975 Moments later, at a street corner off Monivong, government soldiers surrender their arms under the watchful eyes of the victors.


52

Monivong Boulevard, 17 April 1975 Throughout the morning, a procession of sympathizers and guerrillas ride around on trucks and army personnel carriers commandeered by infiltrated Khmer Rouge.


53

Monivong Boulevard, 17 April 1975 A Khmer Rouge cadre carrying a loudspeaker and a gun in his hand orders the population to evacuate the city.


54

Monivong Boulevard, 17 April 1975 Check points are hastily set up on main cross-roads by personnel who seem to already have instructions from high command. At first they ignored foreigners who were taking pictures, but the mood changed later in the day.


55

Monivong Boulevard, 17 April 1975 Government troops stationed inside the city hastily surrender. Some units come out in full uniform. Later, many of the officers were executed.


Left – Phnom Penh surrenders, 17 April 1975 Throughout the day, Khmer Rouge regular forces dressed in black collected weapons from Lon Nol soldiers who had retreated into the city during the closing hours of the war. Rifles are left piled up on many streets corners.

57


58

The French Embassy Gate, 17 April 1975 From the inside of the gate, the French Consul and his staff try to cope with the influx of people. The Khmer Rouge cadres have asked foreigners, through loudspaekers, to assemble at the French Embassy.


59

In front of the French Embassy, 17 April 1975 Expatriates arriving at the French Embassy Gate seek refuge while in the background, the people of Phnom Penh start leaving the city towards the North.


60

Phnom Penh, 19 April 1975 Inside the compound of the French Embassy, foreign correspondents and Khmer journalists move into the ambassador’s residence. Two weeks later foreigners were transported to the border with Thailand


61

Phnom Penh, 19 April 1975 Inside the compound of the French Embassy, a crowd of Cambodians take refuge. Many were forced to leave in the days that followed as the Khmer Rouge attempted to transform the country into a classless utopia.


62

Sakeo, May 1980 International aid organizations made valiant attempts to bring the conflict to the attention of the public. The famed Vietnam era singer Joan Baez even visited a refugee camp to assess the situation and to promote fund raising operations back in the US.

Phnom Penh, January 1981 Under the Khmer Rouge, Phnom Penh was abandoned and the city left virtually untouched during five rainy seasons. Even in 1981, motorized transportation was almost non-existent. Only a handful of Vietnamese soldiers patrol the streets.

Near Ban Taprick, November 1981 A Khmer Rouge supply line across the Thai border. In 1980, I followed a guerrilla unit until a high ranking militia arrested me and held me captive for several hours. I saved this film and never showed my face again in that zone.


YEARS OF DARKNESS


64

South of Phnom Penh, January 1981 At the mass grave of Chœung Ek, piles of freshly dug up skulls bear witness to the genocidal reign of the Khmer Rouge. This blindfolded skull with its mask of death is a damning inditement of the world.


66

Oudong, January 1981 Another mass grave is unveiled to a handful of reporters allowed in by the new authorities. This one is situated in a village near the ancient capital of Oudong. Formerly covered with pagodas and stupas, the area was almost entirely destroyed in the last two years of the war.


67

Along Route 5, January 1981 Startled by the camera, this boy visibly suffers from starvation. In the Phnom Penh area, almost the only aid was coming from the Soviet Union.


68

Siem Reap, August 1989 A pile of skulls discovered whilst on a trip to Angkor provides a grim reminder of the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime. As many as two million people died from starvation, disease and execution.


69

Phnom Penh, January 1981 More than two years after the Vietnamese displaced the Pol Pot regime, the city is still littered with debris. Here cows graze near a car wreck at Oreissey Market.


71

Above - Refugee camp on the border, December 1979 From the relative safety of a refugee camp, children draw scenes of every day life under the Khmer Rouge. It took more than four years before the world learnt about the terrible suffering and torture inflicted on the Cambodian people. Even now, more than twenty five years later, few people can comprehend the enormity of this state of fear.

Left - The Eastern border, October 1979 In a forest first aid centre, on the mountain of Khao Din, near the Thai border, a starving woman who has fled the Khmer Rouge chases flies away from her dying husband. Of the thousands who came here in search of food from international aid agencies, hundreds arrived only to die of starvation and exhaustion.


73

Western border, September 1979 Journeying through the forest with a guerrilla unit, we pass an exodus of starving refugees heading towards the Thai border in the pouring monsoon rains.


74

Phnom Malai, November 1979 Following the end of the monsoons, the once flooded paths are now parched by the scorching sun. The journey to the Thai border soon becomes an agonizing feat of endurance.


75

Nimit, Western Cambodia, September 1979 For tens of thousands of refugees, the only means of escape was to reach the Thai border. Exhausted and in pouring monsoon rains, this woman takes a rest, a day’s walk from possible salvation.


76

Above - On the Thai border, October 1979 In a jungle clearing along the border, a crowd of refugees have assembled, awaiting help from international aid organisations based in Thailand.

Right - Somewhere in the forest, September 1979 A widow and her three children join the exodus of refugees. Here in the heat and dampness of the rainy season, they have nothing to eat but roots from the forest. Yet they will struggle on, driven by the will to survive.


78

Sakeo (Thailand) refugee camp, November 1979 This camp was set up in record time to accommodate thousands of refugees from the Khmer Rouge controlled jungle. It opened too late, however, for many children who died of starvation.


79

Tuol Sleng, January 1981 She was probably part of the Khmer Rouge revolution. Her fate was recorded by her masters’ camera. I only managed to add the sun’s rays enhancing the desperate look as she awaits a certain death.


81

Tuol Sleng Museum, January 1981 These are the photographs of the victims of prison S-21 as it was known. The suspects, including prominent Khmer Rouge cadres and several foreigners, were brought here under the direct orders of Pol Pot and the Angkar. Their fate was meticulously documented by the Khmer Rouge police.


82

Phnom Penh, July 1997 Living just next to the Tuol Sleng Museum until his recent death, Mr Sor Hong was one of seven survivors (lower picture on his lap) of the notorious jail. Only one other man is alive today. Sor Hong was forced to make sculptures of Pol Pot. He was kept alive for almost a year before being freed on the arrival of the Vietnamese soldiers.

Tuol Sleng Museum, January 1981 These are the photographs of the guardens of prison S-21 as it was known.


85

Phnom Penh, January 1981 Grounded in the final days of the war, this rusting ship on the banks of the Mekong provides shade for a few families and a market.


86

Along the Thai border, North of Aranyaprathet, January 1985 An attack on the KPNLF guerrilla forces by the Vietnamese army leaves many casualties. Here a wounded Khmer is carried by fellow soldiers to an international Red Cross medical post.


88

Above - Along the border, early 1982 Thousands of refugees living along the Western border face the constant threat of retaliatory shelling as a result of fighting between guerrilla factions and Vietnamese troops.

Right - The Central Bank of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, January 1981 After abolishing the use of money, the Khmer Rouge blew up the Central Bank building with dynamite. Behind this happy group of children, a pile of wrecked cars are another casualty of the ‘Year Zero’.


90

Nong Chan, Thai border, December 1981 About once a month, tens of thousands of people trek from deep inside the country, to receive rice and cooking oil from the aid agencies.


91

Nong Samet, Thai border, January 1982 Life in a refugee camp soon takes on an air of normality. This newly wed couple receives an early morning blessing from a monk, who is also a refugee.


92

Nong Samet, Thai border, January 1982 Early morning shelling in a refugee camp on the western border. The wounded flock to the nearest hospital on bicycle, foot or by any other means of transport.


93

Nong Chan, Thai border, December 1982 Children as young as ten years old join the guerrilla factions, attracted by the lure of guns.


94

Thai border, May 1983 Regular clashes between armed groups on the border lead to high casualties among the guerrilla factions.


95

Thai border, May 1983 A soldier calls out for help whilst comforting a wounded comrade during a skirmish near the Thai border.


96

Prince Sihanouk, May 1983 Returning to Cambodia for the first time since he was exiled by the Khmer Rouge in 1977, Prince Sihanouk is welcomed by coalition partners Kieu Sampan and Ieng Sary.


98

Nong Samet refugee camp, December 1981 At a small market run by refugees, a woman proudly shows off her catch of the day; two giant pythons caught in the forest. The snakes will supplement the meagre rice rations handed out by international aid organisations.


99

Oreissey Market in Phnom Penh, January 1981 Following their return to Phnom Penh after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, many residents lack even the most basic utensils to cook rice. The situation is aggravated by a US trade embargo.


100

Democratic Kampuchea Base Camp During an official ceremony in the jungles of Eastern Cambodia near the Thai border, Khmer Rouge regulars stand to attention for Prince Sihanouk. He was visiting the official capital of the loose alliance of factions fighting the Phnom Penh government supported by Vietnam.

Nong Chan refugee camp near the border with Thailand, December 1982 Tens of thousands of people have walked for days to collect rice at a border distribution centre.

At a Khmer Rouge refugee camp near the Thai border, October 1985 A young woman of Democratic Kampuchea dressed in black pyjamas and the red krama - an unmistakable mark of her allegiance to the system.


PRECARIOUS TIMES


102

In front of the Royal Palace, September 1989 At the parade marking the official departure of the Vietnamese troops, a soldier marches in front of a group of widows who have enrolled as buddhist nuns.


104

North of Phnom Penh, August 1989 Close to the village of Ang Snul, a small shrine shelters the image of a starving Buddha.


105

Oudong, November 1990 In the countryside, Buddhism is once again flourishing. These monks are celebrating the construction of a new village pagoda.


106

Kompong Speu, January 1991 Wracked by civil war and poverty, life for the blind and disabled is a daily struggle in Cambodia. To earn a living, this man plays a traditional stringed instrument which he accompanies by a sad monotonous chant.


107

Banteay Prei Nokor, Kompong Cham, September 1989 At the Angkorian ruins of Prey Nokor, near Kompong Cham, government troops keep a close watch for Khmer Rouge intruders or thieves looking to steal priceless antiquities.


108

Nong Samet, October 1985 A young member of one of the many guerrilla factions which control the refugee camps along the border. The jacket and head dress which he wears are believed to contain magical properties that will protect him from the risks of war.


109

Phnom Penh, December 1991 A mother and her child in Phnom Penh, awaiting their turn in a neighbourhood clinic.


110

Above - Thai border north of Aranyaprathet, January 1985 A wounded member of the KPNLF guerrilla forces is stretchered out to the nearest field hospital after an attack by the Vietnamese army.

Right - Train, May 1992 A passenger train ran between Phnom Penh and Sisophon every two days, so long as the Khmer Rouge did not attack it or blow up a bridge. Armed raids on Cambodia’s railways proved an easy way to disrupt the flow of trade and people.


113

Sunday in Kampot, October 1989 At a river below the Bokor Mountains, a safe distance from town, hundreds of locals come to enjoy Sunday picnicking and bathing.


114

Front of Bassac in Phnom Penh, October 1989 In preparation for the Vietnamese withdrawal, the government offered civilian defense courses to urban dwellers.


115

Nong Chan refugee camp, 1986 A peaceful protest allows refugees to voice their concerns over the ongoing conflict to visiting United Nations officials.


116

The Khmer-Soviet Hospital, September 1990 A young land mine victim is carried out of the surgery only to discover that his leg has been amputated. It’s a scene that is only too common in Cambodia where millions of mines have been laid by all sides over large tracts of the country.


117

Kampot Hospital, September 1990 Prior to the arrival of foreign donor organizations, hospitals in Cambodia had no electricity, precious few medical supplies and nobody to do the cleaning. These days, sanitation is only slowly improving.


118

Wat Than in Phnom Penh, May 1992 The fabrication, fitting and adjustment of prosthesis can take anything up to six months. The calm ambiance of this temple retreat helps the disoriented amputees to re-organize their lives.


119

Wat Than in Phnom Penh, May 1992 These temple grounds have been used as a centre for fitting and rehabilitating amputees since the late 1980s. Supported and funded by foreign aid organizations, hundreds of victims of mines from around the country have rediscovered the will to live in this peaceful setting of trees and gardens.


120

Phnom Penh street scenes, November 1991 A Sunday reveller sports his best outfit in the dilapidated town. Pretty girls on a Sunday cyclo ride on Monivong Boulevard. A soldier with the picture of a local star proudly tucked in his krama.


BACK ON STAGE


122

Phnom Penh, September 1989 The Royal Palace grandstand features influential members of the Communist regime who have come to salute the official end of Vietnam’s military intervention in Cambodia.


124

Phnom Penh, May 1992 Students of all ages enroll at the classical school of arts hoping one day to perform in the National Ballet.


125

The Phnom Penh City Orphanage, October 1989 A boys’ dormitory housed within an old convent is transformed into a body building centre during the day. But with only one bench and one set of weights made of concrete, they must wait their turn.


126

Above - Khmer Rouge village near the border, 1989 Along the border with Thailand in the Phnom Malai district. An everyday scene of life for a challenged minority holding on to a archaic system. It took another ten years before the Khmer Rouge movement finally imploded.

Right - Near the Thai border, 1989 A Khmer Rouge patrol picks its way through forest, carrying ammunition supplies picked-up in the Phnom Malai area on the border with Thailand. The Thai government consistently denied any such border trade.


128

Mekong in Phnom Penh, September 1989 Almost ten years after I first came across this abandoned ship on the banks of the Mekong, the landscape has been transformed as each rainy season brings new life to the river bank.


129

Monsoon days in Phnom Penh, October 1990 Sudden downpours regularly transform the streets of the capital into a quagmire. Often it can take days for the flooding to subside.


130

Above - Landing in Kompong Cham, September 1989 Boats overladen with passengers and cargo ply the Mekong River carrying goods to the markets that have sprung up along its banks.

Right - Evening ride in Phnom Penh, September 1990 With the law and order situation easing up all over the country, people have begun to relish their new freedom. This young couple is returning from a wedding party.


132

Poipet, November 1989 Closed since May 1975 when the last foreigners were expelled from Cambodia, Sydney Schanberg and a few other journalists approach the rickety bridge at Poipet with a team of United Nations inspectors.


133

Pagoda renovation, October 1990 After years of isolation, the country is finally struggling back to its feet, supported by improved trade links with Thailand in particular. These monks are concentrating their energies on renovating a city pagoda.


134

Skun, September 1989 The regime celebrates its close bonds with the other Indochina states of Laos and Vietnam. A work of propaganda in the village of Skun, halfway between Phnom Penh and Kompong Cham, is used to reassure the local community.


135

National Theatre in Phnom Penh, October 1989 Former members of the Royal Ballet troop don their costumes more than a decade after all forms of culture were banned under the Pol Pot regime.


137

Angkor Wat, August 1989 Vietnamese soldiers outside Cambodia’s world famous Angkor Wat. Sitting atop an armoured personnel carrier, they are on one of their last patrols, just one month before the final pullout.


138

Phnom Penh, October 1989 Many orphans chose to live out on the streets with organized gangs rather than be taken in by an orphanage and subjected to a regulated existence.


139

Stung Treng, September 1989 Ten years after the invasion which toppled the Khmer Rouge from power but failed to crush them, the Vietnamese withdraw from Cambodia. Their ‘honourable departure’ won applauds from every side and liberated the Vietnamese themselves from the heavy financial burden of a decade of war.


140

Kompong Cham, September 1989 Battered by political and economic collapse, Cambodia’s rubber industry continues to thrive throughout the years of conflict.


141

Kampot, September 1990 In its war against the Khmer Rouge-Sihanoukiste alliance, the Hun Sen government dispatched troops by sea to the western provinces of Cambodia. The majority of these soldiers returned after several months in the jungle with malaria.


142

Phnom Penh rainy season, September 1991 Child labourers work the streets of the capital to secure themselves enough food to survive.


145

Kompong Cham Province, September 1991 An elaborate ceremony is held to honour a newly-refurbished pagoda.


146

UN soldiers on patrol, April 1993 Soldiers take to the rails following a spate of Khmer Rouge attacks.

Re-coronation day, September 1993 The king on his throne, signs his official coronation papers.

Phnom Penh, May 1994 Social inequities: Under the piercing gaze of a disabled urchin.


SOUL SEARCHING


148

Election Day, April 1993 Soldiers stand guard outside a polling station during one of the costliest peace operations in the history of the United Nations. Whilst the election brought short term stability to the country, it failed to resolve the long term problems.


150

Monks for peace, March 1993 After walking from one end of the country to the other on a march for peace, a group of monks address a crowd at the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh. The event signalled a more active and political role for the Buddhist movement in Cambodia.


151

Refugees return, November 1993 Handicapped refugees are amongst the last groups to return home in the wake of the United Nations sponsored peace plan. Foreign aid workers take them by car along the dusty roads of Northwest Cambodia.


153

In the name of the King This painting is of King Sihanouk at the time of his first coronation.


154

Tuol Kok, January 1994 A sign of the times as the world’s oldest profession once again flourishes on the outskirts of the city. The arrival of thousands of United Nations soldiers with big daily allowances fuelled a massive increase in prostitution.


155

Night life, December 1993 In restaurants and seedy nightclubs around Phnom Penh, prostitutes eagerly await the influx of foreigners seconded to Cambodia in the name of peace.


156

Kampot Hospital, June 1993 A veil of hope has descended on Cambodia. But despite the festive mood that has sprung up in the cities, many Khmers continue to suffer. Here, a child with malaria is comforted by his worried grandmother.


158

Near Oudong, November 1996 Abundant rivers and lakes such as the Tonle Sap provide the population with a large supply of fish, especially during the monsoons.


159

Boat races in Phnom Penh, November 1996 With the return of peace, Cambodians can once again enjoy their traditional festivals. Long boats from towns and villages all over the country compete in the annual races on the Tonle Sap River opposite the Royal Palace.


160

O’Samach border check point, November 1998 The sounds of gunfire and shelling once again echo through the border village of O’Samach in scenes strikingly reminiscent of the pre-UN days. The fighting unleashed a new wave of refugees which was only stemmed following strong intervention by King Sihanouk.


161

Poipet, June 1999 Life on the streets of Poipet. Crime, prostitution and smuggling are the lifeblood of this town on the border with Thailand. Even the street kids have pistols that are barely distinguishable from the real thing.


163

Oudong area, January 1997 Sugar palm trees are a common feature of the Khmer countryside, contributing to the meagre livelihood of farmers.


164

Above - Poipet, February 1999 Outside the ruins of the old railway station, a couple of brightly dressed girls prepare to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year.

Left - Kompong Chhnang, July 1999 Glaring poverty remains a hallmark of many rural communities in Cambodia despite a multitude of aid programs designed to improve living standards.


166

Near Kampot, March 2001 A group of children push a home-made rail cart towards Phnom Penh. It’s loaded with wood which they have collected along the tracks and will sell in the capital.


167

Phnom Penh, March 2001 With the gradual return to normal life, weddings have once again found their former glitz. Here in Phnom Penh a party in their best dresses walk by a derelict building, on their way to a nearby pagoda where the main ceremony will take place.


168

Angkor Wat, December 2002 Angkor Wat’s causeway filled with tourists. This magnificent complex has survived wars and torrential storms for almost a millennium.


Profile for Roland Neveu

Cambodia, the Years of Turmoil  

In May 1975, as Cambodia was being cut off from the outside world, the Khmer Rouge expelled the last remaining foreigners over the Thai bord...

Cambodia, the Years of Turmoil  

In May 1975, as Cambodia was being cut off from the outside world, the Khmer Rouge expelled the last remaining foreigners over the Thai bord...

Profile for rnbk
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