- Book Name:Golden Bones
- Book Author:Sichan Siv
- Book ISBN:0061694134
- Book ASIN:0061694134
- Date of Publication:July 1, 2008
- PDF File Size:2.57Mb
While the United States battled the Communists of North Vietnam in the 1960s and ’70s, the neighbouring country of Cambodia was attacked from within by dictator Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge imprisoned, enslaved, and murdered the educated and intellectual members of the population, resulting in the harrowing and “killing fields and “-rice paddies where the harvest yielded nothing but millions of skulls.Young Sichan Siv-a target since he was a university graduate-was told by his mother to run and and “never give up hope! and ” Captured and put to work in a slave labor camp, Siv knew it was only a matter of time before he would be worked to death-or killed. With a daring escape from a logging truck and a desperate run for freedom through the jungle, including falling into a dreaded pungi pit, Siv finally came upon a colorfully dressed farmer who said, and “Welcome to Thailand. and “He spent months teaching English in a refugee camp in Thailand while regaining his strength, eventually Siv was allowed entry into the United States. Upon his arrival in the U.S., Siv kept striving. Eventually rising to become a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Siv returned with great trepidation to the killing fields of Cambodia in 1992 as a senior representative of the U.S. government. It was an emotionally overwhelming visit.
161 G O L D E N B O N E S downtown Aranyaprathet. He brought me books, stationery, and cloth- ing. We spent the whole day together catching up. At the end, he said that they all were trying to get me out of there as quickly as they could. I stood and looked at his car until he disappeared from view. I came to know two amazing French priests, Father Vernier and Fa- ther Venet. The former had been living in Bangkok for a long time and seemed to know everyone at the French embassy. The latter used to live in Kampong Thom and spoke Khmer ﬂuently. Both spent their time helping people ﬁ nding a home in France. The French were the ﬁrst to give me a visa. I was happy to have it, but it also put me in a bind. I was not sure whether I should go to France, where I had friends but where life was very tough for refugees, or wait till I secured a U.S. visa. This might never come. Although I had worked for a U.S. organization in a management position, I be- longed to a low-priority group as far as a visa was concerned. The United States might run out of visa numbers before reaching my cate- gory. And I knew no one in America. So I risked losing the French visa and ending up not having the U.S. one. Staying in a refugee camp forever was not an option. I was so afraid that I might miss a chance to get resettled in a third country that I sent a telegram to June. She told me to try to hold on to the French visa for as long as I could. Three days later, I was approved for resettlement by the United States. I was overjoyed. On May 12 I was interviewed by an immigration ofﬁcer and given a parole number. I spent my ﬁnal weeks in Thailand helping various organizations at the U.S. embassy in Bangkok as an interpreter and translator. June told me in one of her letters that I would need a suit for my job interviews in the United States. She suggested that I get some money from one of her friends and have one made in Bangkok. She also intro- duced me to Sam Oglesby, who worked for the UN Development