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An Alternative Memory of the Khmer Rouge Genocide: The Dead of the Mass Graves and the Land Guardian Spirits [Neak ta]

Abstract : This article contrasts the ways in which the memories of the Khmer Rouge genocide have been constructed at different levels and at different periods since the 1980s. Various actors have been involved in this construction, such as the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, the Khmer Rouge Court sponsored by the United Nations since 2007, and Cambodian villagers. This has led to numerous misunderstandings and discrepancies regarding the trial of the former Khmer Rouge leaders. The current research is based on ethnographic fieldwork undertaken in a village in the province of Pursat. It shows how the villagers have taken care of the human remains from the state-sponsored memorials and of the mass graves (that is to say, of the unknown bodies). The article shows how the Khmer popular religious system is instrumental in forging a memory of the dead of the Pol Pot regime and in healing social suffering.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 24, 2020 - 3:08:14 PM
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Anne Yvonne Guillou. An Alternative Memory of the Khmer Rouge Genocide: The Dead of the Mass Graves and the Land Guardian Spirits [Neak ta]. South East Asia Research, IP Publishing, 2012, Life after Collective Death in South East Asia Research: Part 1 – The (Re-)Fabrication of Social Bonds, 20 (2), pp.207-226. ⟨10.5367/sear.2012.0102⟩. ⟨halshs-02553532⟩

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