Dith Pran in the History of Holocaust

Dith Pran in the History of Holocaust

The Holocaust is the most terrible and frightening experience any country or any nation can come through. Unfortunately, there have already been a number of holocausts in the world history. Violence and death is always terrific but it touches your personally. Dith Pran, a Times correspondent, was the witness of such tragic events in his native country, Cambodia, even more – he came through sufferings and tortures himself, was at “the killing fields” and suffered. It is possible to say that he returned from the hell, while his three brothers and thousands of Cambodians died.
Dith Pran was born in Cambodia and spend his childhood near Angkor Wat. In the 1970s he started cooperating with Sydney Schanberg, the New York Times journalist, who was reporting about the difficult situation and the war in Cambodia at that very time. In 1975 the political situation changed – the Khmer Rouge came to power and the communist times for this country began. All the foreigners were deported and among this foreigners was Sydney Schanberg. The horrible period for the native population stared: people were imprisoned. Just in 4 years from 1975 till 1979 about two million Cambodians were killed in tortures. “Mr. Dith saw his country descend into a living hell as he scraped and scrambled to survive the barbarous revolutionary regime of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, when as many as two million Cambodians — a third of the population — were killed, experts estimate” (Douglas). However, it is only a statistical data. The life of those who managed to survive turned into a real horror taking into account that there was no single family without victims of Cambodian Holocaust.
Dith Pran was one of the survivors of the Holocaust organized by the Khmer Rouge, however, these events have had a great influence on his further life. In 1979 he was able to escape from Cambodia and arrived to the USA. He got a job as a photographer in the New York Times and renewed his cooperation with Sydney Schanberg. Working in the USA he never forgot his mother and the great tragedy his nation had come through. His true mission was crusader. He did his best to make the rest of the world realize what brought the Khner Rouge’s ruling.
In 1984 there appeared a motion picture “The Kieling Fields” in which Diht Pran tells his own story.
Roland Joffe, the director of the film “The Killing Fields”, depicts Dith’s life as it was in reality without exaggerations. This is realism that makes this film so popular and allows people to watch a real life history. He tries to escape generalization and numbers which are usually used when speaking about the Holocaust. He turns to the lives of several people and shows Holocaust through Dith Pran’s personal tragedy. In this situation even the smallest details has great meaning for the director and for audience. He chooses the glimpse of knowledge which helps him to collect real information about real people, not bare facts and general statistical data, which are usually given when speaking about the tragedy of Holocaust. This great film is not only an attempt to enumerate facts. He tries to think over great tragedy which affected the lives of millions of people. His personal account, stories of the witnesses, letters and pictures give the readers a unique opportunity to see past events from the new perspective.
The psychologists have found out such a tendency: people try to limit themselves from terrible events of the past. They try to use numbers and figures in the attempt to escape the truth. When statistic data speaks about too many deaths, people lose the importance of each separate life because of the great scale of the tragedy. On the example of Dith, a brave journalist, the film reminds us that each person killed during Holocaust has his or her own history and this history is important. Millions of people and their histories were swept away during Holocaust. Even if we are not able to bring back these people to life we are able to keep the memory about them and Dith Pran evidently proves it on his own example.
Dith Pran, having come through terrible sufferings and tortures, devoted his life to the history of his native Cambodia. He can serve as an eternal example of bravery and remind us about such terrible events as Holocaust. Sydney Schanberg writes about his friend in such a way: “I’m a very lucky man to have had Pran as my reporting partner and even luckier that we came to call each other brother. His mission with me in Cambodia was to tell the world what suffering his people were going through in a war that was never necessary. It became my mission too. My reporting could not have been done without him” (Douglas). Dith Pran completed his mission and will forever stay in people’s memory.


Works Cited
Douglas, Martin (March 31, 2008). Dith Pran, Photojournalist and Survivor of the Killing Fields, Dies at 65. Retrieved November 20, 2008 from http://www.nytimes.com/glogin?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/31/nyregion/31dith.html&OQ=_rQ3D1Q26pagewantedQ3D2&[email protected]@PtCQ2BBQ60fADCt@PaA-!Q27!-GQ24
Tarsy, Andrew. (March, 2008). Dith Pran: Two views of a legend. Retrieved November 20, 2008 from
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/03/31/dith_pran_two_views_of_a_legend/?page=2