Monday, April 1, 2013

Sketches of life, death and genocide

Bun Heang Ung
"No.02 Lon Nol Soldiers ordered to lay down weapons & strip off army uniform" by Bun Heang Ung

It's been 38 years since Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge, but the people who lived through it will always remember.

Bun Heang Ung was a political cartoonist during the Lon Nol regime, survived the Khmer Rouge, fled Vietnamese occupation and eventually found refuge in Australia. (The Radio Australia interview is worth listening to for the discussion on whether his political cartoons are racist.)

To chronicle his experience, he created 90 detailed black-and-white ink illustrations that were published in "Murderous Revolution: Life and Death in Pol Pot's Kampuchea." As that was in 1986, it's long been out of print (though pirate copies reportedly can be found in Cambodia). But instead of reprinting it, in 2008 he uploaded all the illustrations to a blog called Khmer Rouge Toons.

Other political cartoons are available on his blog. (He's not a fan of the current administration, and he's not subtle.)

A collection of Bun Heang Ung's work is also hosted at the Australian National University.

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