Survivors From the Cambodian Genocide Visit Dominion


DHS Press Staff

Tung Yap and Titony Dith speak to Dominion students about their experiences in Cambodia.

The eighth annual Loudoun International Youth Leadership Summit is being held from March 31th to April 9th. On Thursday, April 4th, an assembly was held to highlight the mission of the LIYLS. At the assembly two Cambodian genocide survivors came to speak on their experiences. These two men were Tung Yap and Titony Dith who are apart of the Dith Pran Foundation which works to provide Cambodian students education. The mission of the LIYLS is to share perspectives on global issues and to exchange cultural differences.

Simmi Mangat, the community service chair for global ambassadors, said of the speakers at the assembly, “We selected them to speak because they were involved in the Cambodian genocide and we wanted to spread cultural awareness about the tragic event.”

The assembly started off with a display from the multicultural club. They entered the auditorium with the flags of the members heritages as well as the flags from the delegates country. Next, a video was shown to the auidence, the video introduced the delegations and a brief idea on what they planned to accomplish at the summit.

After the video of the delegates was shown. The global ambassadors club showed a second video. The video was a brief synopsis about the rise and occupation of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge regime. The Khmer Rouge was a communist regime that was founded in 1968 in Cambodia. They ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 under the leader Pol Pot. In the four years that they ruled, they killed between 1.6 to 1.8 million people.

The two survivors were Tung Yap and Titony Dith. Mr. Dith is the son of Cambodian photojournalist Dith Pran, he is the President of the Dith Pran Foundation. Mr. Yaho is also a survivor of the Cambodian genocide and a board member for the Dith Pran Foundation. The foundation provides funds for students in Cambodia who wish to go to college but cannot not afford it.

The two speakers shared their stories about Cambodia and how the Khmer Rouge occupation changed their lives. Mr. Yap talked about how he survived the Cambodian killing fields and how the Khmer Rouge abolished organized religion, education, and even medicine on their path to turn Cambodia into a agrarian society.

Mr. Dith talked about his father’s choice to remain in Cambodia when he was offered the chance to evacuate to the United States and how this decision affected the world’s knowledge about what happened in the country under the oppressive regime. While on stage in the auditorium, Tomi Aluko, a member of global ambassadors, interviewed the two survivors for the whole audience to see.

After the interview with the speakers, one last video was shown to the audience. The video consisted of the delegates all saying “Never Again” in their native languages. This video was shown to show solidarity and unity among the delegates at horrific events including the Holocaust and the Cambodian genocide.