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In the Shadow of the Banyan
A hauntingly powerful novel imbued with the devastation of monumental loss and...
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How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

Created: 05/24/13

Replies: 23

Posted May. 24, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 402

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How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?


Posted Jun. 04, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 121

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RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

My husband and I visited Cambodia (Siem Reap) two years ago. Despite what they have been through, they are warm, friendly and living in the present. I suppose if we had asked, someone would have talked about that period but it wasn't offered. They are mostly a poor people but so rich in spirit


Posted Jun. 05, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terri

Join Date: 04/11/12

Posts: 102

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RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I knew very little about this period of time. After reading this book, I feel very sad for what these people had to endure. My husband served in Vietnam, and he has told me a lot of things that happened over there. It also makes me happy that I live in a freer society.


Posted Jun. 05, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Beth350

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 53

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RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I taught English as a Second language from 1979 to 1990. I had students who had come from Cambodia during the time described in this book. Some of the older people were never really able to share much about what they had gone through, but facts about their lives sometimes told the stories for them - for example, a woman who was Chinese/Cambodian and married to a Cambodian (Khmer) man. Her first husband had been lost to the war so while at the refugee camp she married her second husband. She had two children from her first marriage, he had three from his first marriage and then they had a daughter together. I read about the Khmer Rouge because of these people and others that I taught from that area because I wanted to know how best to approach their history. The Cambodian people that I knew were very warm, loving, and caring. They enjoyed sharing what little they had with me (the American teacher) and so I ate some wonderful food at their home, listened to fascinating music, and attended two weddings done a manner as close to traditional as possible.


Posted Jun. 05, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
patm

Join Date: 12/05/12

Posts: 11

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I knew nothing about the Khmer Rouge, but I had to recall my knowledge of the Nazi Germany and how the Jews were rounded up. Generations of educated, business people, and children were destroyed. How sad to see history repeating itself!


Posted Jun. 06, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
alisonf

Join Date: 01/31/13

Posts: 35

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I was a little younger than Raami during that time. I knew very little about this world atrocity and its people but I have now done some research and want to learn as much as I can. What this society had to endure is too much. I feel we don't do enough to understand these events as they are unfolding. The control by the Khmer Rouge lasted far too long for the Cambodians.


Posted Jun. 07, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 200

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RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

The Khmer Rouge occupation happened when I was in my early thirties and was of course reported regularly in the news so I was aware of it. Unfortunately, though I knew there were awful things happening to those people at the time, it took this book to make me really feel the actuality of what happened them. For me it was similar to reading books about and by people who had survived the Nazi regime because the things they suffered affected me on an emotional level and not just as information. For this alone I am glad I read this book as I, like most people in our country, live a very secure and comfortable life by comparison. This helps one feel a little more gratitude for that.


Posted Jun. 07, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terri

Join Date: 04/11/12

Posts: 102

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RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

This book enlightened me about hardships endured and the way of life and death of the time. It is horrible to think of people being treated like they were treated.


Posted Jun. 08, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
carolynv

Join Date: 04/17/11

Posts: 7

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I had seen the news coverage and the movie The Killing Fields. And a friend had gone there on a mission trip. She told me about the museum and the effect of the regime on a man she met that had been a prison guard at S-21(Security Prison S-21). I knew that wearing glasses was cause for you to be executed. What I didn't know was the agrarian reforms, so similar to Mao's, that lead to so much starvation. Also I didn't know that the Vietnamese won the war and stopped the Khmer Rouge. My goal is to read a book from every country in the world, written by a native author. Thank you Vaddey Ratner for sharing your story with me.


Posted Jun. 08, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 114

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RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I had been informed of the basics of what happened there but no details of what it was really like for the people. I thought this book did a good job of making me somewhat aware of how it was for the people having to try to live through this nightmare.


Posted Jun. 09, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
phyllisrelyea

Join Date: 04/13/12

Posts: 3

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I also visited Cambodia and saw all the monuments with skulls and hesitated about reading this book, but found it informative and hopeful through the author's eyes and the young narrator.


Posted Jun. 09, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lesleym

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 26

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I knew nothing about the Khmer Rouge and as patm noted, the account described in the book sounds a lot like other atrocities that have happened in the past & currently around the world....sad, state of the world.


Posted Jun. 09, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lesleym

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 26

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

It's great when a book not only teaches you about a event/war/people you didn't know much about but also spurs you to learn more..........


Posted Jun. 09, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathleenr

Join Date: 12/07/12

Posts: 68

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RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I was aware that they engaged in systematic genocide and tore the country apart from within. I could not understand how it was done. This book described the terror created by their cruelty and destruction, how their ignorance and fear of education could leave a country broken and starving.


Posted Jun. 10, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kate

Join Date: 01/22/11

Posts: 23

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I am sad to say I knew very little of this terrible event. As lesleym stated, it is wonderful to have a book spark an interest to further research and inform oneself. I have read some history on this topic since finishing the book. Luckily for me, my first encounter was a beautifully written, and detailed story. I will share this book with my Book Club.


Posted Jun. 10, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
meredithk

Join Date: 06/10/13

Posts: 13

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

Unfortunately very little news about Cambodia was televised about what was going on because the government of Cambodia closed it's doors to the outside world and only a NY times journalist was able to leak news a few years after the takeover and produce a horrible documentary about what was happening.

I don't think we really wanted to know much about it as Americans. We had lost the battle and were ashamed of our involvement in the first place after so many people on both sides had died.


Posted Jun. 10, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
elizabethw

Join Date: 05/10/12

Posts: 9

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

My knowledge of the Khmer Rouge was limited. We had many Cambodians eventually relocate in our part of the United States and I have taught a number of their children, but the reasons for their being here was never discussed. This was quite different from my experience with the Vietnamese refugees.


Posted Jun. 10, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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christy

Join Date: 05/22/12

Posts: 40

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

My sentiments echo many of the previous respondents: I felt I didn't know much at the time all of this was taking place, and after reading this book I clearly didn't know enough. Like lesleym says, it is a great book that makes you want to learn more----as painful as that might be in this case, this is incredibly important information as history DOES repeat itself (it is right now in a dozen countries....).


Posted Jun. 11, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanf

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 5

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I had very little knowledge of the Khmer Rouge, only remembered hearing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. But several years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the country for a week. Cambodia is very poor, but the people are so beautiful and sweet. The children are particularly lovely. And it was a real surprise to see the lovely, groomed boulevards of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh...courtesy of the long French occupation. We visited the "Killing Fields" which horrible acts were committed...very moving. Like a previous writer said few would talk about the period, which makes sense since so many were killer. They have a very young population now. This visit made me want to know more and this book was so good in that respect.


Posted Jun. 11, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gigik

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 11

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I knew nothing about the Khmer Rouge and less about day to day family life. I was so interested in cultural practices that were mentioned within the story without being precise. Thought too of many similarities of family dynamics no matter the culture. I was especially thinking about one sibling thinking the other to be favored. That is universal, I think, for whatever reason. I would like to read this book again. Gigi


Posted Jun. 12, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terri

Join Date: 04/11/12

Posts: 102

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RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I, too, like to read about different events in history and different cultures. I am now more aware of what the people endured.


Posted Jun. 12, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
johnw

Join Date: 03/11/12

Posts: 22

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

My knowledge of the Khmer Rouge was limited to news reports at the time and what I learned from the movie The Killing Fields. I didn’t realize that the Khmer Rouge policies had similar effects on the population as Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China. This book will give me a new perspective on the people and culture that will be extremely helpful when I visit Cambodia and Siem Reap in the near future.


Posted Jun. 12, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 37

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

We did not have the instant news from bloggers and facebook the way the do today so a lot of what was happening in Cambodia was kept secret. The Killing Fields probably opened my eyes more than anything at the time.


Posted Jun. 19, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Lisa Hickman

Join Date: 06/19/13

Posts: 2

RE: How much did you know about the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan"? What did you learn?

I knew very little of the Khmer Rouge before reading "In the Shadow of the Banyan." I was young during this time period and didn't pay attention to current events, and it had not yet made the history books by the time I was in high school. After reading the book, I feel compelled to learn more about this period in history. Vatner's lyrical descriptions of family, culture and the atrocities suffered by the Cambodian people were heartwrenching. As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, it reminded me of what I have read about the Mao's cultural revolution.

I think "In the Shadow of the Banyan" would be a good teaching tool for students. I have recommended it to several of my book clubs.


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