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Struggling to Survive the Cambodian Genocide

Dublin Core


Struggling to Survive the Cambodian Genocide


Genocide -- Cambodia.


Oral history video clip featuring Sophal Stagg, a Cambodian Genocide survivor. This video was originally produced by Media Entertainment, Inc., for the 2000 documentary The Genocide Factor.


Media Entertainment, Inc.


Genocide Factor Collection, Oral History Program, Tampa Library,
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


Tampa, Fla. : University of South Florida Tampa Library.




Stagg, Sophal


video / mp4




Oral History


Tape number 4012E

Moving Image Item Type Metadata


The first thing that I saw, the worst thing that I saw? My gosh. Seeing people starving. Seeing people dying. Seeing people screaming that—food, he scream for food. There was a man in our town that he scream for food. All you hear, day and night, he scream for food. And then one day you don’t hear him anymore, because he’s dead. Seeing children—my niece—starving.

I stole—I know that my mother is starving, because the town was flooded and there was no food source, none whatsoever, because everything is underwater. And here I live about two, three miles outside of town, and I was in a group of young children that was taking care of chicken and a few pig. And on the hill where we live, there were some banana trees, and it used to be the whole—a few mango tree, and the rest of it was banana tree. And the water was rising each day, getting higher and higher, and I saw those banana have fruit in them. And they teach us that what we have, we got to share for everybody, because everybody got to be the same. Nobody allowed to have food if they don’t give us food. So I saw those banana tree and I say that the banana will feed my mom and feed my dad and my niece. So I saw those banana tree, and then I didn’t do anything about it until it was at night and was dark. And I got the raft, and the water was rising, and it was cold and it was dark, and I don’t want to bring any light, lantern or anything, with me; then they would see that the raft is disappear, because the whole group of young children only have one raft, and that is our way of going someplace and we’re not allowed to take that raft anywhere. Nobody allowed to leave. So I took the raft and I go cut the banana tree, and I bend down and I put the bamboo—the pole that I, and I put it on the raft and I’m going. I let it, you know, drift down and then out of sight of people, and I headed for the banana tree that I saw earlier. And then I struggle to get that banana, and then after I got that I cut the banana leaf—the long stem, the middle part of it—and I tie the banana underneath the boat, underneath the raft. And the banana was green, and they heavy and they sink, so nobody notice that I have any banana on the raft at all. But there was some banana underneath it. And I sneak back in, go to sleep, pretend like I never leave. And then very early the next morning I do my chore what they tell me to do, and then I bring that banana to my mother.

Original Format

Beta tape






Media Entertainment, Inc., “Struggling to Survive the Cambodian Genocide,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed August 5, 2020,