The Play

Cambodia, country of the Khmer people and an ancient peasant kingdom, has for its fatal flaw its geographical situation right next to Vietnam. First there were the Indochina Wars. After France, the United States of America attacked Communist Vietnam. Neutral Cambodia is swept up in the storm. To attack Vietnam, the US does not hesitate in trampling all over Cambodia. This tragedy engenders another yet more tragic. Fleeing from the US, the Khmer people find themselves in the murderous grip of the terrible Khmer Rouge, a party raised on Communist ideologies. From 1975 until 1979, the Khmer people are subjected to the increasingly hellish regime of Pol Pot.

The play ends on January 6th 1979. On that day, Vietnam, armed by the URSS, takes hold of Pol Pot’s regime, the Democratic Kampuchea, removing the Khmer Rouge from power, and saving from agony what remains of the Khmer people. And, in doing so, Vietnam swallows up the country. From 1979, there is no longer a Khmer Cambodia. Cambodia becomes enslaved to its neighbour – a neighbour who in the past, when it was still called Annam, had harboured dreams of engulfing the Khmer kingdom. Five million Khmer against fifty million Vietnamese – those are the numbers dealt by the hands of Fate. In 1979, Cambodia’s third contemporary tragedy begins. And we do not know how it ends.