The legacy I was given… was dark.
I struggle often. Doesn’t help having what I have in terms of mental & physical health… to be in the between, the first of nearly everything… to be a first generation American, to be dual cultured, to be caught in the betweens, always the betweens. Without many understanding the struggles of walking one way or the other, because, often you can’t do both, it’s a fine line, sometimes the paths meet and cross, but often, they diverge… and I can’t help but be more American than I am Cambodian… because…
I’m an American. Why doesn’t anyone ever see that? I am American before I am Cambodian. I am an American citizen, I was born here, this IS my homeland, but why does my homeland not recognize me as one of their own?… and the land of the legacy given to me… reject me, because they know I am not one of theirs.
…and so I fear… that,
Often I walk alone, on a path I do not know, because I am the child of refugees, the child of genocide survivors, the child of a life I don’t want. Of things I wish I did not know.
(Pasted below verbatim, is a snippet from the introduction on the Yale Genocide Project website’s homepage: http://www.yale.edu/cgp )
The Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979, in which approximately 1.7 million people lost their lives (21% of the country’s population), was one of the worst human tragedies of the last century. As in the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian genocide, in Nazi Germany, and more recently in East Timor, Guatemala, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, the Khmer Rouge regime headed by Pol Pot combined extremist ideology with ethnic animosity and a diabolical disregard for human life to produce repression, misery, and murder on a massive scale.