The Flute Player

I had, for the first time, a realistic sense of Khmer Rouge’s monstrosity from Robert Kaplan’s The Ends of the Earth. Today’s freshair featured a survivor of Khmer Rouge’s Children soldiers. Listening to this, hairs stood up on the back of my neck, and my heart tied into a knot. The actual facts were almost not as scary as the matter-of-fact and almost smiling tone he employed to talk about it. And then think, he is actually the luckier one. Speaking of dark ages…

Arn Chorn-Pond is the subject of the new documentary The Flute Player. As a child, Chorn-Pond was held in a Khmer Rouge labor camp where many children starved to death, many others were murdered, and those who survived were forced to work from 5 a.m. to midnight. He was taught to play the flute to play propaganda songs which helped assure his survival. Later at age 14, Chorn-Pond was forced into the Khmer Rouge army to fight the invading Vietnamese. After seeing his friends die, he fled into the jungle. He found his way to a Thailand refugee camp where he was adopted by an American relief worker, Peter Pond, and brought to the United States. Now Chorn-Pond spends half his time in Cambodia where he is searching for the masters of traditional Cambodian music, many of whom were murdered under the regime of Pol Pot. In the U.S. he also runs a program for Cambodian-American street kids.

Arn Chorn-Pond: The Flute Player