Cambodian Working Group
The Cambodian Working Group is composed of different members of the Cambodian community, survivors of Cambodian atrocities, children of survivors, researchers and students who share the desire to commit themselves to the knowledge and the promotion of Cambodian culture, history and current events. The members of this group dedicate their time and energy to this project because of their commitment to these goals and because of an appreciation for the approach to this sensitive subject.
One of the primary motivations for the Cambodian Working Group is to educate, heal and rebuild pride in the Khmer heritage. Of special significance to the members of the Cambodian Working Group is the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next. Displacement has resulted in a loss of historical and cultural knowledge, based on the loss of social and cultural context. This has become exacerbated not only by the ongoing trauma that is experienced by many first generation survivors of the Cambodian genocide, but also by social and political factors that have made it extremely difficult for some Cambodians to discuss this time period in Cambodian history.
The Cambodian Working Group will focus their efforts on collecting life stories to allow us to better understand the complexity of integration by Cambodian people now living in Montreal. In order to do so, we will recruit from a broad spectrum of Cambodians of diverse origins, ages, religions and education. We will encourage them to participate and they will be welcome to this project.
The Cambodian Working Group would also like to work against the stereotype of Cambodia as a « genocidal » place. Indeed, the question has been posed that before the genocide, what did non-Cambodians know about Cambodia? While the adults living under the Khmer Rouge regime, who possess an intact memory of these times, are the people called on for this project, this is not the only goal. The life stories and testimonies of those interviewed, are rich and precious narratives which will serve as memoirs for future generations, to educate the young and to rebuild difficult and forgotten periods in Cambodian history.
The Cambodian Working Group will collect the stories of Cambodians currently living in Montreal. Of special significance to this Working Group is the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next, and the communication between Montrealers and Canadians of Cambodian and other origins. Displacement can result in a loss of historical and cultural knowledge. The trauma experienced by many first generation survivors of the Cambodian genocide is often compounded by social and political factors that make it challenging for some people to discuss this time period in their history.
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