War in Cambodia An artistic statement

Table of Contents

Intro...............................................................................................................................1 Warm by Olivia Neiderer......................................................................................2 Starved by Aleksey Hildebrand........................................................................3 Living Conditions by James Carozzi...............................................................4 Lifeless by Nate Snyth..........................................................................................5 Bibliography..............................................................................................................6

Imagine a place where children are turned into soldiers, people are starving to death, and there is murder everyday. Well, this place actually existed. This was an occurring event in Cambodia. In the book “Never Fall Down” by Patricia McCormick, the main character Arn, was taken from his average life and forced to work in awful conditions. He witnessed death from starvation to murder for simple mistakes. He was then turned into a soldier and forced to kill as only a young adult. This is the life of some people in war when the Khmer Rouge overtook Cambodia. In housing during the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the prisoners sat in a cold barn together. Music teachers would sleep in temples, which were close to the soldiers. Chefs would sleep in their cafeteria. The kids would sit there trying to sleep in the cold, while the Khmer Rouge slept in sleeping bags. The children were forced to work in rice fields for 12 hours with very minimal breaks. Children were killed or punished if they disobeyed a soldier or didn't ask Angka for permission. Most kids feared that they would be taken away to be raped and then killed. To make conditions worse, most people hardly got one meal a day. Most of the food was bad, people got stomach worms and other food related illnesses very often. Rice was the easiest food to eat, however it was often turned into a very watered down low calorie soup which made people weak and made it harder to work. The education during the Khmer Rouge was awful. Most people that were kept alive had very little education. The Khmer Rouge wanted to teach a whole new program where they taught Angka to the kids to be supreme ruler. People who were dumb, or didn't have an education, were better because they could be tricked easier into following the new rules.

These are some of the variables of people's lives during the Khmer Rouge. The education will be shown by a short story written by Olivia Neiderer. This story will show how the education system placed into effect through a heroic journey of a young school girl. The housing will be presented through a newscast by James Carozzi. This newscast will show the housing and living conditions in Cambodia. Food and diet will be presented by a drawing by Aleksey Hildebrand. The drawing will explain how war affects not only the soldiers and fighters, but also the people of the area and their daily lives. Another drawing will be done by Nate Sneath. This will present the horrors of child labor during war in Cambodia.

Starved by Aleksey Hildebrand

In my artwork I wanted it to resemble I thought more than an action or specific person and time. In the street “Never Fall Down”, I found it interesting how the main character Arn needed nothing but the thought of his family to give him the will to survive. Being a child in war is very hard, especially when you have no idea where your loved ones are and you are forced to kill with our even looking at someone's face to see if you know them. In my piece the person is not to be Arn but to represent him and how starved and close to death he really is. Both close to death physically and mentally. The darkness and cloudiness behind the child represents how war has taken over all around and is now everything they know. The chaos around the child is never ending and even as time goes by and war has ended, it will never be the same. Although the art is dark and sad, the resemblance of happiness and will in a small portion. A butterfly, very gentle and beautiful. This represents the light, the thing that keeps the children going and not turning to suicide from this god awful life they are now forced to live. The thing is, you notice the butterfly going forward, the the child almost trying to reach out and chase it. This symbolizes the loss of hope little by little everyday. The child will is slowly escaping and one day they will either be saved from the war they are living in or they will lose that butterfly and it will fly and away and they will be left with nothing. Their lives will never be the same. They will never be the same. They will have lost everything they ever cared about and yet still try to live. Even when taken out of the war zone they will still be living their own war. A war for purpose. Yet, they all find a way to go on till the end and they will again find their butterfly.

Warm by Olivia Neiderer

Warm. The warm sun beat down on my neck. Sweat drops began to form on my forehead. The long dirt road was packed with vendors and people. Being as short as I am, it wasn't very hard to breath in dirt that made me start viscously coughing. I lugged my one book with me through the crowded streets, avoiding people. My long black hair sometimes swept into my face, blocking my view, so I'd bump into people. I'd quickly scoot away before they could say anything. My glasses were slightly cracked and were always dusty. My parents didn't think it was wise to buy me another pair, since I'm only 13. My parents are some of the few that can afford glasses.

My mother sells seasoned rice and my father is a teacher at the tertiary school for the older kids. Most people only can afford the seasoned rice every couple months or on special occasions, like anniversaries or holidays, it is a very special food because it tastes amazing. The flavors sent your tongue into a blissful dance. I got to eat this rice almost every day because my mother would bring home the leftovers from her stand. I think a lot of other kids are jealous because I get this special food all the time.

As I reached the school I saw some other kids entering the small building with their one other book. We all sat at our assigned seats and waited for our teacher. This building is shared with a lot of other students. It's very dirty and tiny, it gets even tinier when we have over 30 students in this room. There is a single chalkboard in the front of the room, sometimes we can't use the chalkboard because we lose the chalk or run out. The teacher, Mr. W, was late. We were starting to get a little rambunctious. Girls were gossiping and making cute eyes at the boys and the boys were yelling and throwing things around. I sat on the girls side not really engaging in the conversation. I'd rather sit with the girls than by myself.

I could hear the bang of a loud sound. Almost like popcorn. It was a very quiet bang but I knew it was far away. I could see people running. No one else in the school was paying attention, except for me. I watched the crowd as they got closer. They looked angry, and they had guns.

"Guys," I nervously said to the people near me. One girl looked at me in the corner of her eye, she did a double take and I could see the terror in her eyes. She let out a screech which caught everyone's attention. Everyone saw what she was screaming at and they began running and screaming. There were kids everywhere, some ran out of the building, some took shelter under a table. There were more frequent gunshots now. I hesitated and stood frozen. My body was thrown to the ground like a sack of potatoes. Some girl ran into me, but she was too concerned with herself to help me up. My scratched glasses now had a crack in them. I threw them into a corner. My head hit the dirt floor pretty hard, there was a tiny scratch leaking warm blood onto my face. I peaked my head out of the door, the people running, who were all men, had spread out. I think they were trying to get the people who had run away.

Men had come into the school, they started shoving kids into a corner together. They had big guns, I'd seen some in movies and knew they were very dangerous. One girl close to me let out a scream and a couple men shot her, almost hitting me and a boy close to her. I fell to the ground with shock, gasping for air. Fear was rushing through my body. It was hard for me to catch my breath. I looked to my left and saw the girl who had been shot, laying on her side, her eyes rolled into her head and her mouth hanging open like she was trying to catch a fly. She was dead. Lifeless. Her body looked cold, all her warm blood had left her, leaving her cold.

I heard one of the men's boots coming near us, I didn't want to die. I couldn't think of anything, my mind was scattered and was running in a million different directions like all of the kids earlier. I grabbed the girls shirt and all her blood pooled out of her. I rubbed the deep red blood on my white shirt. I lay there like her, dead. My mouth hanging open, not breathing, eyes closed. I tried to hold as still as possible. The boots became louder, I could feel the dirt coming off the ground as it landed on my face. The man hit something hard and scoffed. He walked away. I laid like this for a long time. It seemed like forever till I could take in a full breath. There wasn't anyone else here except for the dead girl beside me and myself. I gently got up, brushing the dirt off of my pants.

Everything was a little blurry without my glasses. I look outside. The men have the kids walking in a big group to the town square. I follow behind, very behind. They look like specks to me, they very well could be close since I can't see anything without my glasses. I followed them to the town, where they had most of the town gathered.

I go into an abandoned building and look outside. Everyone looks like they're in trouble. I can't save everyone, I'm just a shy girl with glasses, well not with glasses right now. I start pacing around the empty space to think of a solution. Out of the corner of my eye I see a rock. It glows red and gold. I walked towards it and pick up the rock turning it around in my hands. I hold it up to my ear and shake it around. The rock vibrates and out pops an old man, his skin golden from being out in the sun. He has a long gray beard reaching his mid chest. I'm startled from this old man, I counter away from him. He looks at me with a small grin.

"You found my rock." He continues with the same creepy grin. "You are quite lucky, I'm good at giving advice." The man spoke so highly of himself, it was hard for me to take him seriously.

"Well, I could use some advice right now." I say quietly.

"My first advice I will give to you is to have confidence." He gave me that same creepy grin, which made my insides feel like they had insects crawling in them.

"Okay," I stood up straighter, "I need to fix this, my town is in danger." The man looked outside and nodded like he was agreeing with what I had said.

"Destroy the King, destroy the Kingdom." Is all the he said, then he vanished. This was not a normal day what-so-ever. I shoved the rock in my pocket and went on my way.

I left the abandoned building in search of the leader. I made sure to dodge all the men with the boots. No one noticed me. I saw a man with a blue jacket. He has to be the leader. I stealthy walked up behind him. I tap him on the back of his shoulder. He turns around and gasps at me.

"Did you ask Angka for permission to talk to me?" He asked, ready to attack me. I shook my head, "Angka will give you all of the answers in life." He pointed a fat finger in my face. "You must be a peasant, you have no glasses. That's good, if you were smart, you would be dead." He sat me down with the rest of the peasants. He walked away, not looking back. I got worried about my family.

I rubbed my rock in my pocket. The old man appeared again. No one else was startled by his presence. I assumed he was invisible to everyone else. "He says I need to believe in Angka," I told the old man.

"Yes, here take this." The man gave me a slingshot.

"Seriously?" I turned back to the man, but he was gone. I sighed, looking at the ground for something to use it with. There were hardly any stones I could use. The leader was in perfect aim for me right now, I needed to make my move or else my whole village would have to learn that this 'Angka' is their new leader. I was constantly looking for anything that would work. As I crawled over to a different space, the red rock fell out of my pocket. Of course! I should use the old man's rock!

I gently load the stone into the slingshot. I aim it, very carefully. This shot could mean saving my village from these people who want to change the education system. The leader lets out a big laugh, leaving his mouth like a giant target. I let the rock fly in the air. The rock hits the chief right in the mouth, making him gag. The soldiers around him hesitate as he chokes on the big rock. He falls to the ground coughing. He lays there like the girl in the school. Eyes rolled into the back of his head, his mouth open with the rock still inside, his body is lifeless. The soldiers start to hug each other and run over to me, hugging me and thanking me.

"We hated that man!" One man with a bald head cries to me. "You are the new leader now!" Another shouts.

"As ruler, I command that everything goes back to the way it was!" I'm raised into the air as all of the soldiers and peasants cheer loudly for me. I've never felt happier. My mother finds me through all the madness and kisses me on the cheek. She's crying, she's so proud of me.

Everything went back to the way it was, some teachers were killed but the magic stone brought them back to life. Everything was normal again, even though I was still the ruler. I still went to school. The magic stone revived the girl that was killed at the school as well. It was all good again.

Living Conditions by James Carozzi

Lifeless by Nate Snyth

Lifeless is a picture giving you an idea of the feeling of being a child being forced to labor for the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge is a communist party that lasted from 1975 to 1979 in Cambodia, and is responsible for mass killings. The children that were forced to live their life style lived in fear and depression. The drawing shows a black and white girl with no face showing the fact that they couldn't show emotion. Children even adults couldn't show emotion out of fear of being killed, beaten, or even raped. Even if that wasn't the case children had to work 15 hours a day and just barely survived off of rice soup so therefore, they didn't have time for feelings. People that lived through this had to work as hard as they can so they wouldn't be killed because the regime went by the rules of no person is a loss. No matter what they had to be lifeless and do as they were told.


Savong School Cambodia. N.p., 28 June 2016. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.

the Khmer Rouge | Genocide Studies Program. Yale, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.


Free Stock Photos of Books · Pexels. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

Stilt Houses Cambodia Photo." TckTckTck RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

Child Labor." Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

@ilo. "Child Labour in Cambodia - A New Direction." Child Labour in Cambodia - A New Direction. N.p., 10 June 2010. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

@ilo. "Child Labour in Cambodia - A New Direction." Child Labour in Cambodia - A New Direction.


Created with images by paularps - "Silent remains in Choeng Ek (Phnom Penh, Cambodia 2011)" • Christian Haugen - "Khmer God" • Moyan_Brenn - "War" • sasint - "asia boys creek" • sasint - "talented people asia bam"

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