Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Narratives of Modern Genocide

Difficulty: 0

(static buzzing)

(static whooshing)

- [Narrator] There are some stories that can never be told.

This is one of them.

- [Man] The assumption was

that all of the people that were there,

you were guilty if you had been identified

as someone that was anti-revolution.

So then they tortured.

Electric shock, beatings, waterboarding to get confessions.

And if you were brought in,

it was you and your whole family.

And the people doing this torturing,

the people bringing you in were 10 to 12,

14 year old children with AK-47 guns.

- [Woman] We say the number six million in the Holocaust.

We say an entire population, an entire faith.

But the numbers are so big

and the stories are so far away

and the names in some ways are so foreign to us.

And until we actually hear that individual story,

we don't realize that it's not about a number.

(static whooshing) (soft guitar music)

- [Jerry] We need to go out to shop and get that inspection.

- Oh yeah?

(police radio chattering)

- [Jerry] If you wanna do that, we can do that.

- You want to do that?

- Yeah. - Yeah.

Why don't we do that?

Yeah. (police radio chattering)

We can do it now, yeah.

- We'll do that.

- Will that be within an hour, two hours limit?

Do we need help?

Do you have another ventry this afternoon?

I have to change.

- For me?

- No, for me.

- Oh, for you?

What do you mean? - Yeah.

I have to change into a business suit.

I want to make myself more presentable.

- [Officer] He has to go to another event this afternoon.

- Okay.

- I'm not presentable.

(officer laughing)

- We'll do whatever you need to do, yeah.

- But if you go do this, will that

- [Jerry] I can do that when we get through it.

We don't have to do that with them.

- Right, but they may wanna see the whole thing.

- [Jerry] Okay, we can do it.

- But can you do it within two hours?

- [Jerry] Yeah.

- All right, that's the last of my question.

- [Jerry] Okay.

We can do that.

We will do that.

We can make it if I drive.

I don't know if we'd do it if you're drivin'.

- You cannot drive over the speed limit.

(Jerry chuckling)

Otherwise, I cite you.

I can write you a ticket.

You have the car key? - Yeah.

- [Sichan] Where you keep the car, Jerry?

Oh, right here.

All right.

- Okay.

91-30. (police radio chattering)

- [Dispatcher] Go ahead.

- 91-30 in service.

Badge number 9112

and 9271.

She didn't respond.

- [Jerry] He's still learnin' his way around here.

- This is your neighborhood, right?

I get lost in San Antonio all the time.

She did not know it.

I could escape from Cambodia through the jungle,

but I get lost in San Antonio.

- [Jerry] (chuckles) Yes.

- Sichan means a beautiful moon

'cause I was born under the full moon.

Yeah and so we have a sort of

tradition of looking at the full moon.

And they believe that when people look at the same moon,

the same full moon, you are connected spiritually.

I grew up under heavy French influence.

France was the modern country.

Everything was from France, for France and of France

until 1953 when Vice President Richard Nixon came to visit.

Then our teachers told us that there was another country

much bigger and farther away in France

called the United States of America

and my mother brought me up in a very traditional way.

She told me to never give up hope,

no matter what happens and hope kept me alive

in some of the most difficult circumstances.

(children chattering) (gentle guitar strumming)

(child weeping)

(people chattering)

- As America was trying to pull out of Vietnam,

we started to use Cambodia

as a place

to keep the enemy from running,

from essentially seeking sanctuary.

And in 1970, 1971 when President Nixon came into office,

he accepted the requests of the United States military

to do everything we could to keep the enemy

from running into another country,

which was essentially a sovereign nation.

And the United States did not have permission

to go into Cambodia, but we did it anyway.

(soft intriguing music)

(bombs whooshing) (explosions bursting)

I contend.

And among historians, we argue about these kinds of things.

But I contend that by dropping those bombs

on the villages in Cambodia,

we set up a situation where it was ripe for revolution.

And an organization called the Khmer Rouge came into power

by getting the people in the villages to support them.

- And my brother-in-law

was head of the National Intelligence

and he asked me to help translate

some of the captured documents

from the Khmer Rouge and the Viet Congs

and the North Vietnamese into English.

And I saw some very, very

cruel scenes describe in those documents.

So during the time immediately

after the war ended,

I say the war ended because there was really no winners,

no loser.

Only everybody was a loser.

The people were sort of in a state of euphoria

because the war has ended.

We have gone through a number of years

of war and killings and death and destructions,

so everybody was just so excited to see the end of the war.

But the end of the war doesn't mean

that it's you know, the beginning of peace.

I had that reservation

because of the documents that I have read.

- [Reporter] The crowds of Americans

and other foreigners lined up at installations around Saigon

waiting for buses which they choose.

They told the Vietnamese that this was the end of the line.

For most of those who wanted to leave their country,

this would be their last chance.

- Then in 1973, America pulls out of Vietnam.

But by that time, the Khmer Rouge had gained a foothold

in the villages all around the main capital of Phnom Penh.

Essentially the Pol Pot Khmer Rouge came to power

and were able to force

the Cambodian people out of Phnom Penh,

take the country back to what they call

take it back to zero and start an agrarian economy.

And that agrarian economy,

the plans were to turn it in

to essentially get rid of all of the powerful elites.

- My mother was a very devout Buddhist.

She said that we must have done some bad

in our previous life that's why we're suffering this.

And I sort of told her gently, "But everybody is suffering."

So it's just

the misfortune that our society is experiencing.

And we were in a situation

where you could not really think straight

because nobody has ever seen this kind of happening before,

not anywhere in human history.

You look through the whole history of humankind,

there was not a society that killed their own people,

not like what the Khmer Rouge did to the Cambodians.

We were sent to build a dam

about two hours by foot away from our village.

We had to sleep there

because it took a lotta time traveling back and forth.

And then one day, we were asked to go back to the village.

And my brother, my sister

were taken away to a meeting.

The word meeting is the code word for


Later on, we learned.

So I decided to leave

because sooner or later, they would find out

that I worked for an American organization

and that would be putting my whole family in jeopardy.

So my mother gave me her wedding ring, her scarf

and a bag of rice and told me to run.

No matter what happens, never give up hope.

So I rode a bicycle for three weeks crossing Cambodia

using fake passes and false accuses

getting through the checkpoints.

I was captured early June 1975 near the Thai border.

Then they were gonna send me to death

because they suspected that I was trying to cross the border

to Thailand which was exactly my intention.

But a truck driver whom I had met a few days before

saved my life.

He told the Khmer Rouge that I was an innocent person

traveling around looking for my family.

So for the next year, I was put in forced labor camps.

The whole country was turned into a huge labor camp.

We were forced to work 18 hours a day.

We were given a bowl of venison soup.

At night when I went to sleep,

I never knew if I would be alive the following morning.

When I woke up, I said I would make it to freedom.

So when the a-poch-ee arrived on February the 13, 1976,

I was alone in the back of the timber truck.

Normally, there was a Khmer Rouge soldier with an AK-47

and another one staying in behind on the logger.

But that time, only one of them came.

The soldier, he was sitting with the driver

and I was alone at the back of the timber truck.

They say he took a shower

and then he put his Khmer, his scarf

over the rear mirror so he couldn't see.

He went to see his scarf.

By the time he got back to the village,

so he tie it over the rear-view mirror.

And of course he couldn't see what happen in the back.

And I said, "This is now or never."

So I couldn't jump to the left

because the driver would've seen me.

I jumped to the right, the driver would have seen me.

The scarf flap a little bit,

then he had a peek through the mirror.

So what'd I do?

I crawled on top of the timber all the way to the back

and just dropped myself.

I was caught on a piece of lumber

and I must've dragged for a few hundred yards

before I was flung off and began to run,

to crawl, to walk the same for three days

having nothin' to eat.

So that may be divine intervention.

I had nothing to guide me except the sun,

the moon and the stars.

I said earlier

I wanted to make sure that even I could see the sun,

the sun would be behind me in the morning

and in front of me in the afternoon

and it happened to be the end of full moon.

So of course after the sun down, the full moon came up.

The same thing you know, the full moon should be behind me

early evening and in front of me later in the morning

or later at night to early in the morning.

I fell in a booby trap

which wounded me,

but I was able to pull myself out

and limped along 'til I got to Thailand.

Because there was no border sign you know,

I just sat there and listened to the loudspeakers

in Thai and Khmer and I was just so puzzled.

I said, "If I were in Cambodia, why do they speak Thai?

And if I were in Thailand, why do they speak Khmer?"

But it was just like many community along the borders,

the two cultures sort of overlap.

Then I came upon a farmer

and I ask him if I were in Thailand or Cambodia.

He spoke to me in Cambodian.

He said, "You are in Thailand."

I said, "Why do you speak to me in Khmer?"

He's like, "Because I were born in Cambodia

and everybody around here speak Khmer."

And that's how I got to Thailand.

- [Interviewer] What did you think

about your family at that point?

Did you have any hope that they would--

- I was just hoping to be able to see them again.

But the hopes began to fade away.

As people who came after me, I was telling.

And I saw that, you know?

I was there for a year.

And little did I know that they were killed

shortly after I left.

My relief was that my mother, my sister, my brother

didn't have to suffer too much there.

(soft guitar strumming)

(birds chirping)

- Kampuchea attacked

from here.

This Trau Bein, Chau Doc, Tan Chau in the Philippines.

Chau Doc.

All of thing here is Hang Seng.

All of you can see some picture here

after they attack Ba Chuc village here.

- You can read about this in a book.

You can see pictures.

But somehow when you're standing there

and realize that this is a person

who went through these terrible, terrible experiences,

they'll never forget that.

They'll never forget it.

There is always a romantic notion about warfare.

And so when we take students to Vietnam

where all these things happened

and then we take them to Cambodia,

they see the real impact of war.

- There's a huge advantage

to being in a place like that and feeling it,

rather than just looking at the pictures online

or through books and reading about it.

I think you gain more of an understanding

by actually being there and seeing it firsthand.

I'll give a little bit of background on the prison itself.

Everyone could hear me, yeah?

- Yup. - Okay.

So Tuol Sleng is also known as S-21.

It was a secret prison located in Phnom Penh

and there was a microcosm of terror, paranoia and brutality

that took place across the country

under the reign of the Communist Party of Kampuchea

from April of 1975 to January of '79.

Most prisoners at S-21,

they were held there between two to three months.

Almost all of them were taken for interrogation.

The torture system was designed to make prisoners confess

to whatever crimes they were being charged with

by their captors which was usually espionage

or something made up.

Most of them were innocent.

- When a lotta people think of genocide,

they think of numbers,

not actually what this happened.

You know, not the thought process

behind the killings, you know?

It doesn't matter if it's you know,

50,000 people or two million people.

I mean if it's systematic killing of people

because you don't either agree with what they think,

how they look.

You know, if they wear glasses,

if they're educated, if they're not.

If they have you know, mental issues.

That's a genocide right there,

especially if it's another ethnic group

or somethin' like that.

I mean whenever we start talkin' about genocide,

like I said people really think about numbers.

So there has to be you know,

in the hundred and thousands of millions

for it to be a genocide.

It's like no, it just has to be

a targeted killing of this group.

So you really gotta look at it in that scope

instead of you know, a number scope and an analytical scope.

So I think when people start looking at it like that

and when I started looking at it like that,

you start seeing a lot more around the world.

(students chattering)

(gentle guitarmusic)

(singer vocalizing)

- [Ron] They move people into Tuol Sleng prison

that were considered to be anti-revolution

of the businessmen, the doctors, the educated people.

In fact, at one time it was a matter of if you wore glasses,

you were assumed to have been anti-revolution.

Then they tortured people.

In terms of numbers, I believe the numbers that I've heard

is about 26,000 people were moved in to Tuol Sleng prison

over a period of about 3 1/2 years.

(gentle guitarmusic) (people chattering)

- [Josh] Goin' into those cells

and them actually havin' pictures

of you know, the people they found in their cells:

the iron bed there without the mattress

and they still had the chains and shackles there.

- [Kaleigh] This was a school.

This was a place of education

and you know, where people wanted to be

and now it's been turned into five buildings

of confinement and torture,

like almost a hallow ground in a sense.

(gentle guitarmusic) (singer vocalizing)

(people speaking faintly)

- I think it's important for my generation.

You know, not everyone can afford

or everyone can be able to go see all that stuff

because you know, it is halfway around the world.

But I think people to learn about it and read up on it

and everything and see the evils of what was done there

and was done around the world,

I mean that's really important.

'Cause either you know, half of my generation,

if not more you talk to 'em

and be like, "Yeah, you know what happened in Cambodia?"

They'd be like, "No, what happened?

I know there's a country all the way."

You know, some may not be able to point it out on a map

if you asked them to.

If you didn't have all the names on them,

say, "Where's Cambodia?"

They would have no idea.

So I mean I think on a grander scheme of things

you know, along with the genocide,

it's just you know, not a cognizant view of the world.

(gentle guitarmusic)

- [Man] You are standing

at a grave where 450 bodies were found.

A few steps away is a line of flowering trees

that marks the boundary of the actual killing field.

This is where the graves are.

What you see here today is nothing compared to the horrors

found by those who first discovered this place.

The stench was unbearable.

The graves were mounds

like infected sores covering the earth.

They had swelled as gases were released by decaying bodies.

Some graves had cracked open revealing dreadful sights.

(soothing guitar strumming)

Some of the pits are now just shallow depressions

in the ground.

They mark the pits of the mass graves.

They are empty now.

When one member of a family was murdered,

all the rest were often killed too

so no one would be left alive to seek revenge.

Of all the graves here at Choeung Ek,

these may well be the most difficult to think about.

The victims who died here were women and children,

more than 100 of them.

Babies died here too.

Many were killed before their mothers' eyes.

Do you see that big tree nearby?

It is called the killing tree.

Soldiers grabbed babies by their legs,

smashed their heads against it

then tossed them into the pit.

Under Pol Pot, as many as three million Cambodians died

out of eight million.

Wherever you come from,

imagine if more than one out of every four people

in your country was killed by your own people.

That is what happened in Cambodia.

- US thought it could happen.

They could happen because people forget

they've happened before, so that's the point.

We need to teach it.

Because when it happens again

and it will happen again someplace,

we need people to know this can go this way.

There can be a genocide.

There can be crimes against humanity.

Unless you're taught that,

you might fall back into that comfortable way of thinking

that people can't do this to each other

and you'll let it go too long before you stop it.

Has to be taught.

So my calculation always was roughly

that there's 2% of the population that is psychopathic.

Another 15 to 20% are just rascals.

They don't believe in genocide.

They're not driven by racial hatred.

But they see it as a way to make money

and be in power, just personally.

Those people surround the psychopaths

and we'll support them.

Then the other 80% of the population are just afraid

and they'll do as they're told

and they'll follow that 20% leadership.

(people chattering)

(soothing guitar strumming)

- How are you, man?

- Very, very dapper here. - How are you?

- This is a good look for you.

- (chuckles) Thank you, man.

Good to see you.

- Oh, look who it is.

- How are your kiddos?

- They're good. - Hello.

- Hello, hello, hello. - How are you?

- Hello, how are you?

It looks like a reunion.

(people chattering)

It's a reunion, yeah?

- Does it feel like a cross-country or track reunion?

Is that what it is?

- Both, both.


- She was just tellin' me she wants to start running again.

She ran yesterday

without you.

- I used to run home from school.

- Not always the same without Gilbert, man.

- No,

it's definitely not the same. - Hello, hello.

- I need a shovel. - Smile please.

All right.

(soothing guitar strumming) (people chattering)

All right, ready and shovel.


(people chattering)

- Hey, Peter.

- Gilbert, how you doin'?

Good to see you.

- I'm not gonna hug you.

I'm sorry. - That's all right.

Hello Molly, hello.

- I'm starting, handing to you.

You're handing to Courtney.

She's introducing the video.

- Sure.

- 'Kay, awesome.

And so you'll hear-- - Minus, minus.

- It's a very-- - Well no,

you're (drowned out by crowd chattering).

You know, you'll fill in any deets

that I don't know already.

You know why?

You might recant when you get that met. (laughs)

- What is a big fan?

I was like the best friend forever.

- Brother from another.

(Gilbert shouting) (Pete laughing)

My name is Pete Rauch.

I am the president of the board of the Gazelle Foundation.

I'm the co-founder of the organization

and I would first personally thank all of you

very much for doing this this evening.

In 2009, we did our first project.

We are now up to 44 projects that have provided water

for 89,500 people in a small area in Songa, Burundi.

So thank you very much for your effort

in coming out tonight.

(guests cheering)

'Kay, I'm gonna have Gilbert come up.

I've known Gilbert for too long.

(guests laughing)

And I've got a date here,

I gotta look it up and make sure I get it right.

March 25th, 2006.

I call it the Gilbert Mafia and a lot of us are here

because of our association with this man.

But I'd like to impress upon you

that well likely first thing he'll say is

it's not about Gilbert.

It's about changing lives in Burundi.

And I encourage you to join me in welcoming him

to help other people gain access to clean water in Burundi.

(guests applauding)

- As you can see I'm really smiling

(guests laughing) 'cause he texted me

a minute ago with the hashtag BFAM.

I'm like, "What is that?"

What is that?

Brother from another mother.

(guests laughing)

He just told me a minute ago.

I didn't know what it was.

It's my pleasure to be with you tonight.

It's very moving to see all of you coming to support

the Gazelle Foundation.

Our mission which is very simple: to give clean water.

(guests applauding)

Growin' up in Burundi in the mountain of Fuku

in the Commune of Songa province of Burundi,

it was the best experience of my life.

It was not easy, but it was a lot of fun.

My daily routine would be getting up in the morning,

go fetch the water.

After I drop the water, I run six miles to school.


It was climbing a huge, huge mountain.

Even my neighbors, the Hutus, the Twa,

I was always nice.

I was always nice to everyone,

so everybody kind of yeah, loved me maybe.

And I would stay to school for whole day.

I would stay and play with my friends.

You know, soccer, cards, you name it.

Something to make the time go by.

One of the thing that stuck in my memory

is the story that I had.

One chant that I had.

Learned from my older brothers and neighbors.

Every time we'd see the rain, we'll run fast.

And to get to distract each other, we will sing.

And of the song was a song about the lion.

Here we go.

(sings in foreign language) do you see

(sings in foreign language) 'til you fight

(Gilbert singing in foreign language)

Just kind of a singin' magical sort of breathing.

And before I know it, I was home.

It was a lot of fun.

There was a two component about the song.

The song was about you know, to inspire.

You know, we have kids that slow.

We have kids that fast.

How do you get everybody to run together?

How do you keep with we call a team?

And in every family, mothers or daughter with their kids.

Don't ask him, stranger.

It's six miles of walk.

You know, you have neighborhoods along the way.

Some can be mean, some can be nice.

But 'cause they're known, parents would tell kids,

"Don't ask every stranger.

"You see a rain, beat the rain, run fast."

It's about a lion and a runner.

So the whole idea was

I am that fast and ride a lion.

Lion cannot catch me.

I'm strong, I'm fast.

My goal was I'm gonna keep running.

I'm gonna keep studying.

In fact, the day that I got attacked,

I was going to study.

That October 1993

was the day

I will never forget in my entire life.

That day, I thought it was gonna be a great day.

It turned out to be the worst of my life.

(gentle guitarstrumming)

That day I turned the radio, it didn't work

and I knew when the radio doesn't work, it's a sign.

That is a cruel data.

I went to class, I was so nervous.

I had this teacher who hate me.

He hated Tutsis and I didn't know why he hates me.

So his name is Fil-a-mont, ended up being headmaster.

When I went to class, the teammates,

a Hutu, who was really like all my friends.

He lived nearby the school and he came and he said,

"Like what is that?

Tonight I'm gonna cut your throat."

I said, "Why?"

"You killed our president."

And I had no idea, man.

I didn't know.

I didn't know the president was killed.

But I got scared.

You have your best friend say he's gonna cut your throat.

The stuff you have been ignoring during the campaign

is coming to life.

There was a group of people walking towards the school

with spears and machetes and kick stick.

They're coming to attack the school.

My favorite teacher, he was running.

He said, "Watch out today.

We're going to be killed."

They just took two of our teacher.

They are taken to a place

where they're gonna burn everybody alive.

I'm like, "That's not gonna happen.

Nobody's gonna touch me.

I've done so great.

I have run for the school.

I'm the national champion.

Nobody's gonna touch me."

We went in the class.

No teacher.


Finally the physic teacher said,

"We are going to die."

The headmaster look in my eyes and he said,

he meant everybody but he was looking

straight at my eyes and he was like,

"You are going to see what Jesus saw on the cross."

This is where you started thinking

how am I going to escape.

I can run.

If I run, I get killed.

They already prepared.

The whole school has been surrounded.

How in the world am I going to get out of this situation?

The best solution is to stay with the students.

Stay with everybody.

Fight together.

We don't know what to do.

We're like, let's escape here.

Nobody's gonna touch us if we walk peaceful enough

and not fight 'cause we can't stay here.

We were like 2K into the walk going 26 miles.

They stop us and when they stop us,

they said, "Stop and go back."

They draw a line in the middle.

If you cross this line, you dead.

Everybody run this way.

I ran to the left thinking I would use the forest.

There was a forest to the left.

I would use the forest to get away

and think about 500 kids tryin' to go different direction.

Every kid that followed me, we end up being trapped

because everybody was after me.

If arrows and spear had stuck, go back to school.

Of course I didn't get any accusation.

I didn't have any guilt.

I was like, you know what?

I've done great stuff for the school, let me go back.

At the same time, they are cutting the ears,

they are chopping my teammate.

The kids are eighth grade, I was in 12th.

I was in 13 grade.

And we were walking and they started taking our clothes off.

If you have nice jeans, they say, "Give it to me."

If you have nice shoes, "Give it to me."

Then we get to a place

where they started roping everybody together.

11 people to my left, 11 people to my right.

There were rope around here so you cannot move.

The headmaster, he locked me in the building

thinking you know what?

Take everybody to the fire

and I have a special torch for this kid, Gilbert.

Early on, he said I'm gonna see

what Jesus saw on the cross.

Pretty suspicious of course.

Is he gonna crucify me?

Should I resist?

You have a million things going on in your head.

People outside started getting really angry

and like we want Gilbert to be treated the same.

He has to go to fire.

And I was like, "Okay, kill me."

There's nothing I can do.

They created the strongest man around to beat on their necks

so everybody that gets inside the fire, you're paralyzed.

So when they set the fire,

there's no way you can move.

This kid, his dad was a general in the army.

He thought his dad would come and rescue him

and say "I'm not going to fire."

'Cause you had choices.

They say, "Either we chop you into pieces

or get in the fire."

And they would form like a funnel.

This person misses you, this one miss you.

This misses you, this one miss you.

And when he refuses, they start to chopping my friend.

They chop him in my eyes.

He scared me.

I jumped and forced myself to jump a bit

and the rope came loose and I kept pushing

and crawled straight in the building.

And so I lay there and as soon as I got there,

(gasps) they light the building.

I witness my friends and my classmates

and my teammates dying

one by one.

And I was waiting for my turn.

I remember after eight hours, I couldn't take it.

I want to kill myself.

I want to suicide myself.

As you can see here.

As you can see this arms here,

I was trying to cover my head

'cause the fire was coming from the roof.

And as you can see also here,

and this was bad right here.

And my back is the same.

Start accusing myself.

I didn't go to church that's why I'm being punished.

I'm locked in a room.

I'm the fastest kid in the country.

I'm in a fire.

I tried to run, they catch me.

If I can ask forgiveness, maybe

I'll be forgiven.

Sure enough.

As soon as I finish forgive me,

I came up to a million ideas.

I took a dead body.

I broke the window.

The window was barred.

The bars that you need to break one

and your head will go through.

I broke one and I was scared.

They were outside, chanting and celebrating a massacre

and I was determined to get out.

Then I grabbed the bar.

It was hot, leg first

and I landed in outside.

I look at the people around me.


All look the same.

Can't even recognize.

I just recognize who was here, who was here.

In my mind was I'm gonna tell this story.

I'm gonna remember these kids.

I'm gonna remember Elizabeth.

I'm gonna remember Manifique.

If I get out, I'll be able to testify.

I'll be able to tell what I witnessed.

- You need to have domestic politics

aroused, engaged by these issues.

That's why they need to be covered;

they need to be described.

When the word genocide applies,

it needs to be applied.

Or human rights violations

or crimes against humanity.

Those words get used a little bit too often.

When they are used, they should be used deliberately.

There's a situation we could not tolerate.

- I think one of the things that genocide requires

is the dehumanization of a people.

There is a propagandization, a brainwashing

that renders the aggressors to believe,

to be firm in their commitment

that these, their victims are not human.

- So we had a rough rule in Bosnia.

We called it the 1030 rule which applied.

In any community if minority was smaller than 10%,

they were safe because they're not seen

as a threat to the majority.

If they're more than 30%,

they're safe because they can defend themselves.

So that 10 to 30% range where you saw violence happen,

when there's no rule of law to stop them

and people were feeling threatened.

(gentle guitar strumming)

- At this point in world history,

we have more refugees and displaced people

than we have had since World War II

and arguably we're well past that point

at this point in time.

I think there are 65 million or so

displaced people and refugees worldwide.

Less than 1% will ever be resettled to a third country.

Not to the US, to any country.

And so it's really a needle in a haystack,

you know, winning the lottery kind of chance

that any refugee has of being resettled.

It's not something they can count on generally

and that's a hard reality to face I think

as a person and as a human.

And I think for us as Americans,

but also humans ourselves,

we have to be able to understand and I think we do,

the position then that families are in

if that is their only choice in life, you know?

It's stay in a refugee camp

or try to be resettled

or go back home where I know I will die.

- A refugee needed to be sponsored

by a family, by a church, by a group of people,

by an organization and I was sponsored by a family.

They did not know me.

I did not know them

and they took me in out of the goodness of their heart.

Yeah, after I picked apples in Wallingford.

I felt like I ate enough apples to last for a lifetime.

And I went to work for Friendly's Ice Cream.

I was trained to be the manager, a manager

but I had to learn how to cook hamburgers,

to scoop ice cream, wash dishes, sweep floor, everything.

I never seen a hamburger in my life.

And I was working the grill

and suddenly I was hearing rare, medium rare

and I was holding a lettuce

and the trainer said, "Hold the lettuce."

I didn't understand.

It took me a while to realize that she didn't want me

to put the lettuce on the hamburger.

And I said "Oh my goodness, this is very difficult."

And then at the cash register,

the dimes are smaller but worth more than the nickles.

It's very confusing.

I said that I had to move on so New York, New York.

January 1977,

I stood at the corner of a street in Manhattan

and all these yellow checkered cabs coming down

with the signs at the back, drivers wanted.

So I call and they ask me to go and take a test.

It's all about directions.

How do you get from the Waldorf Astoria

to Yankee Stadium for example?

I had no idea where these places were

so I just check the boxes at the end.

I brought the sheet to the examiner.

He looked at the boxes, he frowned.

He looked at me from head to toe.

He shook his head and then he said you've passed

so I became a taxi driver.

Applied to a number of schools.

That includes scholarship to Colombia.

I was given a full scholarship

for a master of international affairs.

In the meantime, I met Martha as I mentioned,

on September 15, 1977, and my life changed.

She was the moon and I was the rabbit.

She was the angel, I was the barbarian. (chuckles)

- [Interviewer] We would only got to admire her from afar.

- Exactly, exactly.

Well I arrived here in 1976 and there was an election,

presidential election,

I was watching TV with my whole family

and I did not understand what was going on.

I saw these people wearing funny hats

jumping up and down on the chair

screaming, yelling and shouting.

And my whole family told me, "This is a convention.

These are delegates."

And they turned to me and said,

"Sichan, if you were interested in this country,

you should get involved."

So my chance to get involved was after I became US citizen.

It's a wonderful feeling.

I felt I had a country.

I can no longer be expelled from anything

because I always have a country

to go back.

And after I met Martha, I had two states.

I had two home states.

I had two home state, Connecticut and Texas.

I love Texas.

I cannot get enough of Texas.

(soft guitar music) (singer vocalizing)

So let's find this name.

I think it's on the other side.

I walked by.

I walked by it.

Right here, Robert McKinney.

- [Interviewer] And he was?

- He was one of Martha's ancestors.


And the other one was Collin McKinney

who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.

I am one who believes that

you want to have your voice heard, get involved.

Just like what my host family told me in 1976,

"If you want to understand this country, get involved."

In 1988, we were living in New York and I volunteered.

I just wanted to be involved,

so I did everything the campaign ask me to do

from making phone calls to stuffing envelopes,

licking stamps of those days.

You know, they send other information by post.

And I just enjoy seeing the process,

but you have to express your interest.

Some people want to volunteer,

but they don't want to work in the government.

And I wanted to, so I wrote.

Well in fact, they sent me.

They send you, "If you are interested

in serving in the UN station, please fill out this form."

And I fill out that form.

And the timing is important also.

I had a friend Jason DeMayo

who was the director of the transition personnel,

later on became director of prison personnel.

He saw my resume the time

that they were looking for somebody of my background.

Somebody who can interact with ethnic groups

or who knows a little bit on international relations,

who speak a few language and there I was.

He told me later on that

if my resume arrived two days earlier or two days later,

I would never get that job

because there are hundreds and hundreds of resumes.

And when somebody ask him, he said, "I have one here."

They look at it, they like what they saw

and they ask me to go to Washington.

Then Bush 43, I also volunteer in his campaign

and the same process, you know?

You express your interests

and they need somebody who could represent the United States

and I arrived here at the right time.

And I already spoke five, six languages.

I could interact with the French-speaking diplomats,

Spanish-speaking ambassador.

I have already worked at the White House.

I have spoken for the President of the United States

and the American people.

So it was the right time.

It doesn't matter how qualified you are,

how much money you have raised, how much you work you done,

it's a combination of everything.

The United Nation was quite an experience

because I had to interact with 190, 192 countries.

When I walk in, my colleagues from those countries

look at me and they saw America.

They saw you.

They saw America's strength, her greatness and her future

each time I pronounce, "On behalf of the president

and people of the United States."

That was my proudest moment.

I cannot be thankful enough or be grateful enough

for God to have brought Martha and me together.

Somebody or divine intervention.

So there I was alone by myself.

And when I met Martha, my world change.

So we benefited from each other.

We were one.

Yeah when she pass away, I lost 2/3 of myself.


(soft guitar music)

(birds chirping)

- 'Kay, guys.

Let's do the warmup drills right here.

Float some eggs.

Yup, bend your knee up.


- Well the first one's hard.

The second backwards.

- Backs up.


Hopping, hopping.



You can sing.

Go ahead and sing it.

- [Teen] Hey Gilbert, are those new shoes?

- No, they're not new.

I went to represent Burundi University

in the university yard which is like Olympic for student

where all the colleges' student.

They compete all over and it was in Tokyo in Japan.

For the first time, I was like you know what?

When I was strong, I could make the team.

But right now, I'm still wounded.

God has a messenger here.

He wants me to go spread the message,

gimme a life again, seize the moment.

'96, I came here in Atlanta, Georgia.

I came to train for the Olympic Training Center.

I did a lot of research.

I did a lot of homework.

My homework: learning English.

How do you speak hi and so on?

I came here after two big major city: Nairobi, Kenya.

It's big city, but it's not like USA.

Guess where they took me to eat

from a country where there's no food.

Most people, maybe 30% are malnourished.

You come to your country full of everything.

You're full of food, convenience, McDonald's.

They took me to McDonald.

I spoke a little English.

I think they wanted too.

That was the best way to learn, to be honest with you.

First time to place order.

Everything has been given.

Now I'm gonna order.

I'm like okay, the only thing I know was chicken.


There's a number and a number.

I order chicken 'cause I'm a chicken person.

I order chicken, but it still is a McDonald

and French frites which is French fries.

So there was this guy, I mean heavy southern accent.

You haven't seen it.

And he goes, "Yo."

I'm looking my friends.

But as you say, they're laughin' so hard

and he say, "Here go."

I hear go

and I hear here.

Those are two words I never couldn't put together.

What did he meant?

And then my cousin, our second cousin

name is Jean-Paul said,

"You mean he had to go stupid?"

I get a visa to run in the Olympics

and also a prospective student.

So after the Olympics I start learning English

'cause we speak French and (mumbles).

So I had to learn my English.

I had to pass the (mumbles).

So I started taking ESL, English as a Second Language.

I end up in Abilene.

Best choice ever.

I could go into division 1,

but Abilene had a lot of to offer.

You know, Abilene.

It's a Church of Christ School,

but the culture is amazing.

There's so many international student.

I love the fact everywhere you go they have a tradition.

There's one in 800.

There's one at four by four.

This team won a national championship.

You will see them.

My goal was one day, I wanna be here.

Here for my daughter or my son.

I'm like, "Well come here or I come back.

I'll always see that I made an impact on the school."

So to me,

it was really fun.

It was a great experience and I end up winning.

Maybe I'll win all of 'em.

(interviewer chuckling) How's that?

Now's that?

And also God does a miracle, man.

Sometimes you don't have to question it.

(medals clinking)

Maybe I should wear all of 'em, how's that?

How's that?

- [Interviewer] You're a little kid runnin' in your village,

did you ever think to be standin' here with all of this?

- No.


No, no way.

But my message to all of you youngster out there

is to never give up.

Don't give up on your hopes.

I didn't even think I'd like to be in the United State.

But because of hard work and dream big, I made it.

You can do it.

This is what I could find from college.

I have more than that.

I'm supposed to have eight.

This is pretty cool.

Back in '99 before 2000,

I went back to Burundi to see my family,

to see my girlfriends who I marry today.

I was like, "I have to go back."

And when I went back,

I thought the tension were over.

I thought I could go back and be a normal citizen and work

'cause healing has to take place.

It turn out that I was hunted.

There's some people that wanting to kill me.

They were not happy that I was alive.

As soon as I landed here, I applied for political asylum

so I can stay here 'cause I don't wanna have to go back.

Luckily, I was a geek going to asylum

and eventually was to be become a citizen.

I chose and decided this is my country

as well I'll raise my children.

No more goin' back to Burundi.

I can help, I can support but no more going back.

Coming to Texas, people were like,

"Oh man, a cowboy.

Texas is so racist.

Cowboy gonna kill you, man.

They don't like Africans."

Lemme tell you, but I was always wantin' to wear that

five-gallon hat.

I love Texas.

You're not cheating.

You stay lower.

We are goin' for what?

One minute.

- Oh. - Oh my god.

- I will change 'em up to the words it's comin'.

It won't get you.

It's comin' from behind, in the front.

We are strong and we are amazin'.


Kevin, you ready?

(Gilbert vocalizing)

- [Group] You're right.

(Gilbert vocalizing)

You're right.

- Do you seek? - You're right.

- Do you find? - You're right.

- Yeah, you. - You're right.

- Do you seek? - You're right.

- Yeah, you let. - You're right.

- Do you find? - You're right.

- Run the land. - You're right.

- Surname. - You're right.

- We awesome. - You're right.

- We're amazing. - You're right.

(Gilbert vocalizing) You're right.

(Gilbert vocalizing) You're right.

- Do you seek? - You're right.

- Do you find? - You're right.

- Yeah, then. - You're right.

- Yeah, you. - You're right.

- Do you find? - You're right.

- Run the land. - You're right.

- 10 inch. - You're right.

- We awesome. - You're right.

- We're amazing. - You're right.

- Super fast. - You're right.

(Gilbert vocalizing) You're right.

- Yeah! (students cheering)

That's cool.

We done.

We done for the day.

It took me years to come to a realization

that I need to share my story,

so the things that happen doesn't happen again.

The horrible accident,

the horrible massacre that happened.

I'll make sure it doesn't happen again.

We gotta take the words to prevent it

'cause not many people know about what happen in Burundi.

A lotta people know about Rwanda,

but not many people know about what happened in Burundi.

So it takes people like me to share the experience

to testify what I witness, what I saw,

so people would learn about 1993.

(soft guitar music)

- A friend of mine, Manny Dawson,

she asked me to go and speak

because people who benefit more from my experience

and I was very reluctant.

I felt that I had to go down a very painful past

which I want to forget.

I want to forget a painful past

so that I concentrate on building new life.

But Manny didn't give in

and I said, "No, no, no."

But she just kept on asking me.

"Sichan, it would be better for you

to write down before you forget it

and also to speak it out."

So I started speak out, tell my story in churches.

Then it became easier and easier.

It helped me out.

- There's different data out there.

But what we most often see

is that families spend around seven years in a refugee camp

before they will be resettled.

That of course means that there are families in camps

for longer than seven years.

But what happens during that time

is that the United Nations is determining

for what families there is no other durable solution,

as in going back to their home country

or integrating into that second country

in theory where the refugee camp is.

For a lotta families,

neither one of those are an option.

And the only durable solution is resettlement

to a third country,

so that third country being the United States.

- On that premise,

I think the most important wisdom

is already printed in our dollar bill:

"E pluribus unum."

From many to one.

So we are a great nation

because we have a great ethnic diversity.

There always new blood, new ideas, new creativity.

They are born every day, every day in our country

and that's what make us strong.

It's our ethnic diversity.

- I think that you know, as a historian,

my greatest fear is that history can be easily rewritten.

It can be easily reinterpreted

and that it can be easily re-conceptualized

to political gain.

As a scholar, we hold very fast and firm to evidence:

to quantitative, qualitative, to what's in the archives,

to what's in the libraries.

And I think that we need to hold firm to that.

I think that in terms of what's been happening recently

in our discussion of immigration, of refugees

is in some ways like coming to terms of the mythology

that we have always held so true:

that we are a nation of immigrants,

that we are a nation of the enslaved,

that we are a nation of people

who are constantly working towards community

and towards building a bigger, brighter future.

But that is a constant battle

and that is a constant struggle

and I think what we're seeing is the contestation

of how hard that struggle actually is.

(soft guitar music)

(soothing piano music)

The Description of Narratives of Modern Genocide