What Does It Take to Heal: One Woman’s Commitment to Celebrate Stories of Survival
Socheata Poeuv was born 28 years ago on Cambodian New Year, a day that was supposed to bring luck. In fact, her entire immediate family was blessed with fortune – they escaped from the Khmer Rouge and survived.
She was 22 years old when her parents revealed that the two women she thought were her older sisters were in fact her mother’s sister’s daughters, orphaned by Pol Pot’s regime. She also discovered that her older brother was her half brother — a surviving child from her mother’s murdered first husband.
Poeuv’s curiosity about her parents’ long silence led her to make a film about her personal history called ‘‘New Year Baby.’’ She persuaded her parents and half brother to return to Cambodia, where they confronted old ghosts, loved ones, and hard memories.
Upon completion of the film, she started ‘‘Khmer Legacies,’’ a project in which children interview their parents about surviving the Cambodian genocide, that she hopes will result in 10,000 video-taped testimonials. Says Socheata Poeuv, ‘‘You’ve got to change the silence that surrounds what happened and the way that Cambodian parents talk to their children and children talk to their parents. Unless people step forward to remember and distinguish it, this culture could become completely invisible’’