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Music of the Ghosts


A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of...
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Discuss Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner:
Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Created: 03/28/18

Replies: 21

Posted Mar. 28, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

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Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Cambodians of a certain age often ask each other, "Where were you during ar-Pot?" (the Cambodian genocide, 1975-1979). If you were alive then, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?


Posted Apr. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 211

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was alive then, in my twenties but too self absorbed, I guess, to really pay attention. It was a different time, without internet and without much tv coverage so if you weren’t focusing on the tv or reading a newspaper one could be pretty oblivious. We were also still absorbed in Vietnam. I never knew the extent of our countries participation in the destruction of Cambodia which all these years later saddens me


Posted Apr. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 120

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Yes I was alive living in Seattle Washington. I was a young mother my second son was born in 1974. I marched against the Vietnam War with my husband who had been in the Navy. This would have been in the early 70’s. Sorry to say I cannot remember the Cambodian genocide. At the time a stay at home mother with two sons plus doing day care to help pay the bills!


Posted Apr. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 335

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Like Rebajane, I was alive and old enough that I *could* have known, but too young and self-absorbed to have picked up on any of it. Seems shallow now that I was worried about who'd ask me out to a movie rather than know what was going on in the world, but such is the way of youth!


Posted Apr. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 185

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was very aware of the political events and genocide during that time. I was a 15 year old teenager living with my parents on Clark AFB in the Philippines. When the military started to evacuate people from Vietnam, they would arrive at the base first before going to the US. Since many orphans were also evacuated, we were given the opportunity to help get them off the plane and care for them in one of the temporary holding areas before they were also sent to America. It was something I will never forget.


Posted Apr. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kathryns

Join Date: 08/18/15

Posts: 9

RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

This book was an eye-opener for me. I was in my mid-30s during the time of the Cambodian genocide, living in the mid-Atlantic area. I am ashamed to say that I knew nothing of this until reading "Music of the Ghosts". With a husband who travelled extensively, three sons and a full-time career in the medical field, my time and attention were directed toward family and professional commitments. In those pre-internet days, I rarely watched TV or listened to radio, read mostly professional publications, and paid only peripheral attention to world events and international politics. The world was much larger then and news from half way across the world travelled more slowly and in a much less spectacular way than it does today. This book has led me to research other sources of information - especially disturbing has been to read about the US bombing campaign.


Posted Apr. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
darleneg

Join Date: 02/15/18

Posts: 7

RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was alive, but like several others here, a young mother with little insight and effort spent on understanding world events. I knew nothing about Cambodia, and as far as Vietnam I wanted peace but mostly I was glad the draft was over and my husband wouldn't be called into military service.


Posted Apr. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 51

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was alive, married and a young mother during this time. We watched the news and I remember seeing unpleasant information at this time, but confess that it blurred in with all of the bad news from South East Asia. Like so many of my age group, we were horrified by the Vietnam war and my husband was so grateful that he didn't have to go. It seemed to us that the whole business was a bad mistake on the part of America to ever have gotten involved.
I feel apologetic for my lack of curiosity about what was going on in Cambodia.


Posted Apr. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 78

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was a newly wed in 1975. I was very aware of the genocide in Cambodia and the ferocity of Pol Pot. My husband had, by dint of an injury in training, avoided being sent to Viet Nam. I was constantly aware of how fortunate we were and how tragic the war was for many of his training mates.


Posted Apr. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
N*Starr

Join Date: 03/13/14

Posts: 40

RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I have enjoyed reading about those who were living during this terror. I was an infant at the end of this reign. I found myself researching the man, the time, and trying to find context for this story. I don’t think I fully understand the politics but found the scene where the musician learns that his teacher was Pol Pot, to be creepy. I know it’s a plot mechanism, but some people had PP as their teacher- how deeply disturbing.


Posted Apr. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 179

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Yes, I was a young mother in my 20's. I remember the US bombing Cambodia as a means to stop aid to Vietnam from the Communists. Very little of that pierced my consciousness at the time. I was busy with my own life and not into news and politics. It was later when I learned of the "killing fields" that I began to realize what had happened in the years following. I have read other books about this since and wish I'd known more then.


Posted Apr. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kenanr

Join Date: 02/20/14

Posts: 20

RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was a kid - 12-14 from 75 to 79. I was peripherally aware of the genocide in Cambodia. It sort of blended into coverage of Vietnam in my memory, but it was always in the news. Pol Pot maintains a spot in my memory of terrible dictators of my childhood. I was surprised when reading this book how quickly the words like Khmer Rouge and Meekong spurred recognition in my brain. I remember, really, that is seemed like more terrible things happening in South East Asia. A good friend in adulthood is a Cambodian Refugee and so maybe this is all more personal to me.


Posted Apr. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 154

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was in my twenties and just starting a family. My husband was in the army reserves and we tried to stay as informed as possible. So much of what was going on was hidden or not reported. Later in life I met people from Cambodia who survived and came to this country. Their stories are heart breaking.


Posted Apr. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Beth350

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 75

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Like earlier replies, I was a young mother in my late 20s and not particularly focused on what was happening in Cambodia - but I don't think there was much news about it during those years. I protested in the early 1970s when our government chose to bomb Cambodia, so I was aware of the country. In 1978, I began teaching English as a Second Language and started to meet SE Asian refugees. We had students who were from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. By hearing some parts of the students' stories (they did not share much), I started to learn about what happened on a rather personal level as most of my adult students had lost some part of their family. My students put a very real face on what had happened and this book brought a lot of that back to me.


Posted Apr. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 312

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was married and a new mother living in New York at the time. I remember hearing and learning about Cambodia on the nightly news. The evacuation of Cambodia was full time television. Friends were afraid of being "called up" as the situation continued to grow worse day by day.


Posted Apr. 05, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 197

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Yes, I was alive, married, raising a child and teaching English and Social Studies in the seacoast area of New Hampshire during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. Yes, I was familiar with the events that were occurring in Cambodia. The atrocities of the Khmer Rouge genocide became known through news reports. More information came out later as more realities of the plight of the Cambodian people surfaced.


Posted Apr. 07, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 235

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Yes I was alive and had just started a new job after working in a school that had trained MAAG officers going to the area prior to the expanded war. With new Young children I admit I was shutting out part that was going on.


Posted Apr. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 410

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

As many above said, I was in my late twenties and should have been more aware but was busy having my children and being bookkeeper for our business and did not spend much time following the news. I knew the term Khmer Rouge but not the real blood and guts of what was happening in Cambodia. This book was an eye opener for me and too long in coming.


Posted Apr. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
clairelm

Join Date: 01/15/17

Posts: 5

RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Yes those were my college student years when I too was fairly oblivious. However my first job was as a social work admin at a hospital. In the program offering care to low income mothers and infants we had a fair number of Cambodian refugees. Much later, work colleagues who had grown up in refugee camps and then went onto live and study in the US told some of their family stories. A return to grad school opened my eyes to the full horror while studying peace and reconciliation through the arts. It is a fact in many post conflict countries around the world families from both sides of conflict live as neighbors. What might that mean to someone? In the novel the human spirit as embodied by the maimed musicians shows how to triumph over cruelty and violence. Leaving beauty and good deeds in the aftermath is one step in restoring a people. Teera represents so many who have struggled to survive loss and make a positive difference with their lives.


Posted Apr. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janb

Join Date: 06/27/11

Posts: 15

RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was in my early 20's and working mostly in the outdoors, doing long trips with delinquents. I remember being very aware of the atrocities, reading about Pol Pot and what was happening in Cambodia. It frightened me to read about it. I was horrified already by the Vietnam war, finding it very disturbing at how we so easily killed people different than us. And then there was Pol Pot who was doing it to his own people! This paralyzed me emotionally. I was happy to escape to my safe world of working with troubled kids. It was my eyes opening to the ease of how humans de-humanize for "political reasons".


Posted Apr. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 187

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RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

Yes, I was alive and in my twenties, living in New York City and establishing myself in a career. I was aware of the genocide, and remember seeing the reports on the nightly news and reading about the genocide in the newspapers. But with no Internet in those days, there was no 24/7 non-stop news. In some ways, that made it all the more horrifying, since seeing the events nightly and reading about the events daily gave more time to reflect on what was happening. My generation was already horrified by the Viet Nam war, the first war that we saw fought nightly in our living rooms. What happened in Cambodia from 1975-79 was truly horrific for those of us hearing and reading about it. How much more so it must have been for those living through it.


Posted May. 08, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janee

Join Date: 01/15/18

Posts: 7

RE: Were you alive during the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. If so, where were you, and do you remember hearing about events in that country during that time or later?

I was a young teen aware of the Vietnam war because my Father served on a draft board in our area. There was no talking during the 6 o'clock news. I later learned it was to see how many soldiers lives wer lost and if it was ever going to end. He was very private severed in WWII, but never talked about his experiences or the service on that board. We only got insight into his role when mothers would show up at our home and get on their knees begging for their sons to not be drafted. Of course it was a number thing,but still made a lasting impression. I am ashame to say I never knew of the genocide in Cambodia or the involvement of our country in this situation.


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