- 65 years old
- Date of birth: Sep 27, 1942
- Date of passing: Mar 30, 2008
|Let the memory of Dith be with us forever|
This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one, Dith Pran, 65, born on September 27, 1942 and passed away on March 30, 2008. We will remember him forever.
Pran was the interpreter and assistant for a New York Times reporter, Sydney Schanberg, who was also a former colleague of his. Schanberg was doing a report on the end of the Vietnam war in April 1975 where both, North and South Vietnam were being taken over by the communist forces. Pran had a mission, which was to free his family from the war in his country, and move them to the United States. With Schanberg's help, he managed to accomplish that mission, however Pran had to be left behind.
Dith Pran did end up escaping the chaos, four and a half years later. But those four years were what most people would consider hell, if not worse. Dith Pran had to survive in the area called "The Killing Fields."
The area gained its name due to the piles of dead bodies and skeletal remains laid across the dirt grounds. The communist regime of Pol Pot, known as the "Khmer Rouge," were the ones responsible for the deaths of over 7 million people. The atrocities they committed were, and are, unforgivable by any means. They stole the identities of the people of Cambodia by taking away their culture. Nearly making them go insane by having them kill their friends or family. Anyone who showed any signs of being intelligent or having any western cultural influence, were murdered on the spot in cold blood and shells.
Dith Pran managed to survive by acting as a simple, and unintelligent farmer. Only able to eat so little amounts of rice and maybe a small animal or two along the way. After about four years of this cruel routine of being moved around, and working brutal hours of intense labor, Vietamese troops invaded Cambodia. Dith managed to escape during the commotion, to a refugee camp on the border of Thailand. There he sent a message to Sydney who was back in the United States raising awareness of the terrors happening in Cambodia. Soon after they reunited in that refugee camp, and Dith Pran finally escaped the Khmer Rouge.
In America, Dith Pran became a photographer in training for the New York Times, as well as an interpreter for them. Pran and Schanberg also founded the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project, where they gave speeches and public conferences to educate society about the history of the Khmer Rouge regime and raise money to help the survivors in Cambodia, and possibly bring some over to the U.S. to live better lives. However, all things must come to a tragic end. After leaving the war, Pran was fighting for his life again in 2008, where he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After three months, Pran passed away.
Dith Pran's story was made into an award winning film called "The Killing Fields" (1984). Sydney Schanberg wrote an article called "The Death and Life of Dith Pran" for a magazine which was essentially, the foundation for the movie, and won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1976.
For all of the wonderful things that he has done, and for his bravery, and courage, Dith Pran, you shall be dearly missed.
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