Thursday, 4 March 2010

Ex-war correspondents plan reunion in Cambodia

via CAAI News Media

PHNOM PENH, March 3 (AP) - (Kyodo)—A group of war correspondents plans to hold a reunion next month in Phnom Penh in memory of colleagues who perished in Cambodia during the Indo-China War in the early 1970s, organizers of the event said Wednesday.

Chhang Song, an information minister during the U.S.-backed Lon Nol government, told Kyodo News that the event was set for April 20-23 with a gathering of war correspondents who covered Cambodia from 1970, when the Lon Nol government was inaugurated, to 1975, when the Lon Nol regime collapsed and gave way to the Khmer Rouge government.

Carl Robinson, a former Associated Press correspondent and another organizer of the event, told Kyodo News via e-mail that while there had been reunions in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, among war correspondents who covered the Vietnam War, none had been held in Cambodia.

Chhang Song said the commemorative plan had received full backing from Khieu Kanharith, the Cambodian minister of information.

Robinson, who was based in Saigon from 1968 through 1975, said that between April 1970 and April 1975, 33 foreign journalists and 21 Cambodian journalists were killed or went missing while performing their jobs.

Among foreign journalists who died during the Cambodia conflict were 10 Japanese, eight French nationals, seven Americans, and others from Switzerland, West Germany, Austria, Netherlands, India, Laos and Australia.

"Chhang Song and I are the inspiration behind this one. I think for many of us, the experience of Cambodia was so painful -- not only the war itself but what followed -- that it's been very hard for us to come to terms with over the years," Robinson said.

Robinson said he expects more than a dozen of the 40 or so surviving war correspondents to attend the reunion.

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