Missing Images of Genocide and Creation in Cambodia soko phay Survivors feel compelled to search for meaning and understanding of the past as a duty and heritage to be passed down to future generations. However, this transmission becomes problematic when the mourning process is blocked by the denial and opposition of those who perpetrated the crimes. Th e prohibition on knowing, coupled with the concomitant impossibility of speaking and imagining, then makes working through the past diffi cult. Th e trauma, both personal and collective, may then aff ect future generations, which suff er the psychological consequences of events they did not experience themselves. Th is is why postmemory is currently an important political and social issue in Cambodia, particularly since 45 percent of the population was born aft er the genocide. Kamtech and the Erasure of Images Much more than mass murder, genocide aims to annihilate every- thing that constitutes human being as such, in fl esh, identity, and ancestry. In this sense, the term kamtech, which is recurrent in the records of s- 21, the former Phnom Penh high- school- turned- extermination center, reveals the core ideology of the Khmer Rouge. It means not simply “to kill”
Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 16, 2016
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