From Mrs. Diane Ashline
Saint Michael’s College gives out scholarships each year to a couple Juniors who are college bound. Along with the scholarship, they also give a book, First They Killed My Father, written by Loung Ung. A recipient of this book, who holds a very special place in my heart, suggested this unforgettable story.
This book is a nonfiction work that was written in retrospect by Loung Ung. Ung tells the story beginning as a five year old. The story takes place in Cambodia during the horrific times under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Loung Ung grew up in a middle class family for her first few years. She and her large family then had to endure many movements to maintain their safety, and then lived in poverty, sometimes searching for enough food for survival. As a very young child, Loung witnessed the death of many through horrific human war crimes, disease, famine, and even her family splitting apart. After 20 months of hiding, Loung’s father, a former government employee, was taken and killed. A short time later the family had to split up due to the Kymer Rouge coming after families of the men they had killed. Many children had to pretend they were orphans and lived in a children’s work camp so entire families would not be murdered. Loung’s mother kept the youngest child because she was so young, but unfortunately, they also faced murder. Fortunately, the remaining Ung family members met up and traveled in hopes of finding some extended family members. With luck on their side, they found some relatives and hope was brought to their broken world.
First They Killed My Father, details many horrific crimes against humanity. It is sometimes very hard to believe that people can be treated so badly but in fact it has happened way too often. This story is just one of many that expose the hardships that many people around the world have endured.