It is near impossible to understand present-day Cambodia or its arts without learning about Arn Chorn Pond and his flute. His endeavors and collaborations are everywhere and they share unpretentious forgiveness, optimism, authenticity, and joy through the Cambodian Living Arts.
When it comes to genocide, silence is not an option. Shame is not an option. Putting behind the past is not an option. Instead, one must tell the stories of genocide and survivors must find the courage to release their voices. Nations have no legal obligation to do so, and since nations are players in the atrocities, they create false narratives or remain reluctant to crack the silence until a time and their citizenry demand more.
Cambodia was silenced by terror and oppression, and in many regards still is. The survivors of the war and genocide did not have a vocabulary to articulate the harms that had transpired. To this day, the genocide is not widely taught or discussed in Cambodia. The population is reluctant to speak and the officials want simply to bury it, along with their guilt. Cambodia’s youth has been left out of its history, unable to comprehend the anger, fear, shame, mental illness and abuse that surrounds them.