I am an incredibly lucky person. I have two loving, supportive parents who have brought me up in a stable and prosperous environment where I have had every opportunity to pursue any and all of my passions, academic or otherwise. I have grown up overseas in Dubai and been able to travel throughout the world, and though I never took this for granted, when I first met Sedtha in August of 2012, I probably didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have.
I was sixteen years old when I first met Sedtha, the same age that Sedtha was when the Khmer Rouge came knocking on his front door on the 17th of April 1975. And though Sedtha was at the time a sixteen year old high school student, as I was when I met him, I had absolutely no idea how to even comprehend, much less appreciate, what he would go through over the ensuing months and years after the Khmer Rouge forced themselves into his life. I was, however, able to at least try and put myself in his shoes and ask myself “what would I have done?”, and honestly I don't know. I don't know if I would be able to survive being stripped from my family and forced to do hard labor, and I don't know if after going through that I would be able to get over it. But somehow Sedtha was able to go through hell and come out the other side not only in one piece, but with his heart full of love and compassion which he used to help rebuild the county he watched fall apart. So though I don't know if I would ever be able to endure as Sedtha has, I do know that I can tell his story.
His story has has leant me perspective and inspiration every day since I met him, and this project of Tragedy and Triumph is more than anything else my attempt to share with the rest of the world this story which has so impacted me.
Thank you for visiting the site and I hope that you are able to find inspiration in Sedtha's story as I have.
- Chad Williams