Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Cambodian photojournalist, genocide survivor, dies at 65

Dith Pran, a photojournalist for The New York Times, died at age 65 in New Jersey on Sunday due to pancreatic cancer, The New York Times reported Monday. Pran, born and raised in Cambodia, was present in 1975 to witness the fall of Phnom Penh as the Cambodian Communists, the Khmer Rouge, took power.

Pran was Sydney H. Schanberg’s journalistic partner. Schanberg was a correspondent for the Times, and met Pran during his assignment in Southeast Asia. In 1975, however, Schanberg was forced to leave Cambodia while Pran became a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge. He became a slave in Cambodia’s countryside among countless others who were also part of Cambodia’s social experiment to establish itself as an agricultural nation. Hundreds of thousands of urban residents were expelled from their homes as part of the campaign.

Earlier on, Pran always insisted on staying with Schanberg in Cambodia to continue the news reports because he believed that a reaction and help from other countries would occur if they saw the tragedy in Cambodia. Schanberg said of his work with Pran, “His mission with me in Cambodia was to tell the world what suffering his people were going through in a war that was never necessary. It became my mission too. My reporting could not have been done without him.”

For the full article, click here.


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