From the fall of Phnom Penh on the 17th of April 1975 until the Vietnamese invasion on the 7th of January 1979, the Khmer Rouge brought to bear on Cambodia one of the most brutal and oppressive regimes of the 20th century. Under Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge’s manic leader, the entire country was dragged through some of the worst years in human history. Hundreds of thousands perished during those dark years and millions more have since had to shoulder the burden of that incomprehensible loss.
Today, more than forty years later, the weight of that burden weighs as heavy as ever. From rural farmers to urban intellectuals, the pain of the genocide is felt throughout the country. Tragedy and Triumph tells the story of Cambodia’s genocide through their faces and their stories. It is by giving voice and shedding light on those who have survived that this project aims to give testament to an entire generation of Cambodians and by doing so, show that Cambodia’s story is not just one of Tragedy, but also of Triumph.
Tragedy and Triumph began with and has been guided by the personal story of Sedtha Long and his NGO, the Build Your Future Today Center (BFT) of Siem Reap, Cambodia. His story of perseverance and compassion has been the guiding light behind this project, with his story lending me inspiration since the moment I met him. To learn more about Sedtha's story and BFT, explore the "The Story" and "The Cause" sections of this website.
Every penny made through Tragedy and Triumph goes directly into funding Sedtha and BFT's work.
- Chad Williams