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am 28. Februar 2000
"First they killed My father" is Loung Ung's Horror filled account of her childhood stolen from her by Pol Pot's regime which ranks behind only Hitlers for it's brutality and inhumanity. It is also a story of a family's love and sacrafice for one another. A father and mother's love for thier children a sister's love for each other but most of all a little girls love for her father.
Think of Anne Frank Meets the "killing fields" and you only begin to get an idea of what this book is about.
Loung's writing is at once so simple and yet so vivid you can almost feel the shook, disgust and horror of a little girl living in what can only be discribed as hell on earth.
You can feel the confusion and fear in a little girls mind as her life of cars, TV's, phones and movies is ripped away from her and replaced with starvation, murder, bombs, gun fire and death.
PA what are communist she asks, and why do they hate us? Her Father's answer is simple and direct they are destoyers.
This book is truly a must read for everyone, least we forget and let history repat it's self.
0Kommentar|3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
Die Grausamkeit des Khmer Rouge Regimes ist kaum vorstellbar. Was in den Köpfen passiert, die einen radikalen Völkermord rechtfertigen und für gut befinden ist für mich ein Rätsel...wenn man aber sieht wie oft dies in der Geschichte der Menschheit vorkommt, dann nichts zum Wegschauen. Und um so wichtiger sind Bücher wie diese. Denn es handelt sich hier sowohl ein wichtiges Zeitzeugnis als auch um ein sehr gut zu lesendes Buch.

Luong Ung erinnert sich. Sie erinnert sich an ihr wohlbehütetes und wohlhabendes Leben in Phnom Penh als kleines Mädchen. Sie erinnert sich an den Einmarsch der Khmer und die Vertreibung von Zuhause. Sie erinnert sich an eine lang anhaltende Lügengeschichte und das immer weiter Fliehen, um unentdeckt zu bleiben. Sie erinnert sich, wie ihr Vater abgeführt wird. Sie erinnert sich, wie ihre Schwester stirbt. Sie erinnert sich, wie ihre Mutter sie und zwei weitere Geschwister fortschickt, um als Weisen bessere Überlebenschancen zu haben. Sie erinnert sich, an die Indoktrinierung im Camp.

Diese Erinnerungen sind in reale Geschichte eingebettet und ihr Schreibstil im Präsens ziehen einen geradezu hinein in die Grausamkeit. Aber auch die Veränderung ihrer Gefühlswelt - von Angst, Verwirrung hin zu blankem Hass sind hervorragend gezeichnet. Das Buch kommt (fast) gänzlich ohne blutige Effekte aus. Die Grausamkeit des Alltages und des Ahnens sind schlimm genug. Als Leserin musste ich mich ab und an aktiv daran erinnern, dass dies Kindheitserinnerungen sind. Das Thema ist so sehr nicht kindgerecht, dass ich das immer wieder vergessen habe. Aber immer, wenn ich mir das wieder ins Gedächtnis gerufen habe, mir meine eigenen Kinder vorgestellt habe, dann hat es ein Messer ins Herz gestossen.

Wie ich sehe verfilmt Angelina Jolie das Buch derzeit. Ich glaube ihr liegt etwas an dem Thema. Ich glaube sie wird das gut machen. Ich hoffe, dass Buch und Film einen Beitrag zur Aufklärung leisten werden und dazu bewegen, nicht wegzuschauen. Egal wo sich das Grauen abspielt.
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 14. Februar 2000
From 1988 to 1990 I was living and working in Cambodia with OXFAM UK. It was almost daily that I was told, by my Cambodian collegues/friends, accounts of the killings and suffering that took place during the Khmer Rouge time. When I read Loung Ung's book, I felt as though I was back in Cambodia, being told another experience that emotionally tears one's heart apart. I can not comprehend how a child at that age would be able to deal with such brutalities and loss of parents and siblings.
Loung Ung's book describes, through a personal account, an historical period in Cambodia that needs to be remembered and told. I would hope that, through reading of this book, our society would become more aware and compassionate towards others. Loung Ung's book is a must to be read by all.
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 24. November 2012
Excellent book. Well and thoughtfully written.
Told in real time by a little girl who lived through the horrors of Pol Pot's madness. It shows how little Loung was forcibly changed from a pretty, innocent child to a person so consumed by hatred that she eagerly runs to the scene where a Khmer Rouge soldier is horribly executed - and the experience does not even affect her that much at the time.
This is a holocaust that is all too often forgotten in the West because we, or our relatives did not experience it first hand. Perhaps this book and others like it should become essential reading matter in our schools.
This brings home what it is like to be a refugee during and after a wars fought for insane cultural or religious ideals.
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am 10. Juni 2000
The attrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge, which resulted in large-scale genocide of the Cambodian people, have not received the attention that they warrant from the Western press. This book describes the horrors of the Khmer Rouge's brutal rule, from the view of a woman who was only a five-year-old girl at the time the Khmer Rouge invaded Phnom Phen.
As young as she was, the author showed incredible courage and determination. I have always wondered why some people survive in such horrid conditions; this book provides some insight into the will-to-live, and refusal to give up which kept this woman alive.
The descriptions of her family's suffering are graphic, but no more than necessary to provide the reader with an authentic feeling about the torture, starvation and other maltreatment by the Khmer Rouge, as led by the "invisible" but revered and feared leader, Pol Pot.
By the way, a complementary book about this epoch which I recommend, told by a woman who was a few years older, is "When Broken Glass Floats."
0Kommentar|2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 1. Juni 2000
The chilling story of the Cambodian purges led by the Kmer Rouge was impossible to put down. Ms. Ung tells her story without resorting to being overly violent even thogh the killings were in the millions. Her brilliance is in humanizing the violent struggle through a family we grow to care about deeply. She avoids the political side of the Cambodian civil war and focusses on an ordinary family turned from a happy middle class life to one of survival and loss. I read this in one day because I needed to know what happenned to this family. Poor little Loung Ung led a terrible few years but lives to remind us that our American lives of comfort are not to be taken for granted. I recently read a similar book on Rwanda and was similarly touched by how much suffering still can go on in our supposedly modern, humane world. Clearly, wanton slaughter in other countries makes me appreciate the simple freedoms of safety and security we have. Read this story and you will not complain about the simple things that aggravate us in America.
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 27. Mai 2000
WOW! A powerful journey of struggle against a fear so great, most of us will feel the tingling awakening of discomfort with the reality that civility can be so easily striped from us. We think of law, order, fairness and justice as a part of everyday life. It is unimaginable what life would be like without them, until you read Loung Ung's book. Loung reminds us that these are ideals, Loung allows us to experience existance in its most basic form. If you can read without denying the fear you should feel, you will grow from reading this book. From the acceptance of the cold and cruel, I developed a stronger sense of love and appreciation for the fragile life I am fortunate to have. This book is also about love, bonds, sacrafice, determination, willpower, the value of intelligence and wisdom, appreciation and character. Thank you Loung for your book.
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am 12. Juli 2000
When I was a child in parochial school, we used to pray for "the starving children in Cambodia" every day. Now I finally know exactly who we were praying for.
Before this book was published, I wasn't able to find any first-person accounts of the genocide in Cambodia. Having finally read one, I can see why. Just reading it could be emotionally scarring. The actual experience is not something that most of Cambodia's survivors would want to relive in the telling.
Ung's unflinching account describes what we can only hope is the absolute nadir of human experience. These are the outrages endured by nation that was decimated twice over by squads of angry bullies, a crazed dictator, bitter classism and racial hatred, and senseless starvation.
"First They Killed My Father" is not for the squeamish, the pessimistic, or the tender-hearted. In fact, my greatest fear concerning books of this type is that some people are so overwhelmed by the horror of the Killing Fields and the Holocaust that they will not be able to comprehend it as fact, that their emotional health will require them to deny that such things are possible, and that consequently, they will hesitate or fail to act when they have the chance to prevent such things from happening in the future.
Some disappointments (really only worth deducting half a star, which Amazon doesn't allow):
1. Poor editing. Frequently the tense shifts in mid-paragraph from past to present, or from present to past, in describing a single incident. There are also numerous places where homonyms were used that should have been caught by an editor; "peddling" for "pedaling," for example, and "sown" for "sewn."
2. Very little follow-up on what happened to Luong after coming to the US. I wanted to know how she was able to heal her psyche after all she had endured as a child, for example, and what it was like for this little girl to become socialized in her new country. But perhaps this was too personal.
3. The title is misleading. I knew Luong was going to lose at least one sister, but I assumed that this would not happen until after her father was killed. Unpleasant surprises are fine in drama, but this was real life. I was upset enough without Keav's death taking me by surprise.
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am 8. Juni 2000
"First They Killed My Father" is a valuable memoir of a child's view of genocide. It is also a wonderful tribute to those members of the Ung family who died during Pol Pot's homocidal regime. However, what I found most fascinating was the way it turned the average American's perceptions on their head.
Luong Ung's parents seem to have been remarkable people. Her father, with no connections whatsoever, worked his way into the highest echelons of Cambodia in the pre-Pol Pot era. Simply thru hard work & honesty he went from being a poor ex-Buddhist monk to one of the upper level security people in government circles. Loung's mother had the courage to elope with this remarkable man while he was still dirt poor, defying her family & society. Then while raising 9 children, each parent was so loving that each child felt they were "the favorite". Unusually for an Asian woman's memoir, there is no feeling of the girls' being second class family members, or unwelcome mouths to feed who have to earn their way. The undying love & devotion both parents inspired in their children is truly touching to read about.
As the story unfolds, told in Loung's "you are here" style (all present tense thru a child's eye) you are present as she grows from a spoiled 5 year-old into a self-reliant independant 10 year old. The change from trust & selfishness to self-determination is well presented. In our rich Western culture we often need to be reminded that children are capable of much more than we allow them in our effort to infantilise them. During the course of "First They Killed My Father" 12 year old Kim takes full responsibility for keeping his mother & 3 sisters alive & fed. When Pol Pot's regime falls, it is Kim who takes the responsibility of uniting the remaining siblings. Meanwhile Loung takes care of her older but more passive sister Chou, making all decisions & doing all the talking. At an age where Western girls are getting their first Barbie's, Loung was being taught how to use a sickle or machete to kill if no rifle was available.
At the end of the book, when Loung gets to Vietnam (in 1979) it is ironic that to her eyes this is a colorful, free, prosperous country while we in the US consider it a dreary, famine-ridden example of Communist repression! It is always refreshing to have preconceptions thrown on their heads, & Loung Ung does this many times in her excellent book.
This is a powerful memoir that brought me to tears more than once. It is too bad it is not longer (Ung's editor is thanked in "The Afterward" for making the book so short; personally I'd like to wring her neck!) but you certainly won't regret the time you spend with "First They Killed My Father".
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am 26. April 2000
Loung Ung's book FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER is an intimate, personal account of life under Cambodia's genocidal Khmer Rouge. Its emotion and urgency give the reader a sense of what it was like to be there -- to suffer as Ung and her family suffered and to see the horrors that they saw. The book thus provides a crucial supplement to drier, more academic accounts of the Khmer Rouge regime, which typically are written at a distance in order to preserve an aura of objectivity. Ung is not in the business of providing a dry, historical account of what happened to her country; rather, her purpose is to share the raw, often brutal, story of what happened to her.
Ung's book provides a human framework for coming to terms with the madness of the Khmer Rouge. Instead of remaining decontextualized victims -- remarkable only for their suffering and identical to the victims of countless other tragedies -- Ung's family and the people she meets gain the dignity of personal qualities and individuality. Through the eyes of the child that she was at the time, Ung forces us to see her family and acquaintances not just as statistics or haunted faces glimpsed on television, but as people with lives that began before the tragic period of the book and that, at least in a few cases, continued after the events described in the book were over.
FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER is part confession, part therapy and part urgent mission to share a story with the world. It is often painful to read but it is profoundly rewarding. Ung's story is heartbreaking but her own persistence, fortitude, and ultimate triumph inspire. Furthermore, in an age where tragedy and genocide have seemingly become commonplace, Ung's ability to heal after such a harrowing childhood is encouraging evidence that others, recovering from tragedies elsewhere, can do the same.
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