In reading an article about the legacy of the Khmer Rouge, both in Cambodia and abroad, I discovered a rather shocking statistic:

According to a survey by the Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation, three-quarters of the adult population [of Cambodia] are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Imagine – three out of every four people you meet has flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks… yet they cannot talk about what they have been through due to their own survivor’s guilt.

I cannot believe this. Or more precisely, I don’t want to believe this. It makes my own small issues seem miniscule when compared to the pain of an entire population. I was just going to post about the number of times death has touched my life over the past year, but then I read about one woman in the article who lost both her grandparents as well as seven brothers and sisters.

I am humbled.

I am also reminded of an earlier article from TCS Daily that I found on Instapundit back in May, regarding how few movies have been made about Communist atrocities. He draws on an earlier article by Lloyd Billingsley, written in 2000, which describes an imaginary movie set during the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939 and concludes:

The simple but startling truth is that the major conflict of our time, democracy versus Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism–what The New York Times recently called “the holy war of the 20th century”–is almost entirely missing from American cinema.

Perhaps he’s right, that this hole in our record is due to Hollywood’s own experience with blacklisting and communism. But that’s no excuse for the filmmakers of today.

Three out of four people. Seventy-five out of one hundred. All traumatized. They cannot tell their own stories, but why isn’t anyone else trying? Perhaps it is still too soon. But as humans and as historians, we have an obligation to remember, and to repeat. By doing so, perhaps one day we can avenge.

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