Author: Rob Lemkin
Created: 3/29/2012 8:15:30 PM
On Monday The Guardian newspaper printed a story ‘Film-maker investigating killing fields of Pol Pot’s Cambodia fears for his own life’.
Sambath just recently returned from a Bangkok clinic where he was being treated for stress and blood abnormalities.
I well remember Sambath emailing me about one of the most serious incidents of harassment in March 2011. It was the fourth time something serious had happened. We spoke by phone shortly after. He was very scared. After a 10km high-speed chase Sambath’s car was overtaken by a military vehicle which tried to force him to halt. Sambath knew the area – remote rural northwest Cambodia – and made a right angle turn down a track. He and the friends he was with then dumped the car at the side and ran to hide in a cornfield. The pursuers followed them into the field with flashlights and came within 15 metres of where they were hiding. One of Sambath’s friends fainted – in silence, luckily for them all. The uniformed men got back in their truck and drove off. They stayed still for 3 hours until they were sure the men had gone and got help from some local farmers.
Sambath filed a complaint with the local police but it led nowhere. He sensed a certain complicity between police and military officials and decided not to pursue the matter further.
Another car chase – this time late one night in September 2011 – lasted even longer. Sambath’s wife was driving this time with Sambath and their two children as passengers. Nary drove as fast as she could until they got to the market of a large provincial town and the pursuers drove off. Despite this Nary is still determined that Sambath continue to do the work he feels so strongly about.
You can watch Thet Sambath talking about the harassment here:
We are now working on Suspicious Minds, a film that will complement Enemies of the People and reveal not how but why the killing fields happened. It does seem that there are some who don’t want this film made. But we feel an historical obligation: right now Sambath is perhaps the only researcher with sufficient credibility, skills and courage to get this story. We will need to be very careful as we go about compiling a film that may tell for the first time the real story of the killing fields.
In a separate development we are pleased to announce that Cambodian-American musician praCh Ly has joined our team as an Executive Producer. We are delighted to have him on board.