uninterrupted in time and indefinitely long continuing
We live under the
constant fear of being discovered as supporters of the former government.
Thrusting out his chin and holding his head high, he tells the soldiers he is ready to go.
fixed and unmoving
As Kim’s face crumbles, Pa’s face is
rigid and calm. “Look after your Ma, your sisters, and yourself,” he says.
Dear gods, Pa is a very
devout Buddhist. Please help my Pa return home. He is not mean and does not like to hurt other people. Help him return and I will do anything you say. I will devote my entire life to you.
cause to stand out or be clearly defined or visible
I hate the soldiers now as much as I hate the Angkar and their leader, Pol Pot. I
etch their faces into my memory and plan for the day when I can come back and kill them.
incapable of being put up with
His pining for our father is
unbearable, but he is the man of the house now and cannot speak openly of his suffering.
lengthen in time; cause to be or last longer
This little bit of food he’s able to bring to her
prolongs her life just a little more, keeping her with us just a little longer.
smother or suppress
I turn and see Ma put her hands over her mouth to
stifle a scream.
draw back, as with fear, pain, or embarrassment
She cries over his cut swollen lips and
cringes as she touches the blood dripping from his skull.
end, take out, or do away with
The Angkar fears the survivors and children of the men they have killed will rise up one day and take their revenge. To
eliminate this threat, they kill the entire family.
firmness of purpose
Tell them you are orphans and they will take you in. Change your name; don’t even tell each other your new names. Don’t let people know who you are.” Ma’s voice grows stronger with
determination as the words pour out.
a term of address for males engaged in the same movement
In Khmer I address the supervisor as “
comrade elder sister” with as much strength in my voice as I can muster.
information that is spread to promote some cause
We squat on the ground waiting for the Met Bong to read the latest news or
propaganda from the Angkar.
grow under conditions that promote development
Every night I sit there and imitate their movements while hatred
incubates inside me, growing larger and larger.
take to be the case or to be true
I do not know what to expect of the new camp, but when Met Bong says it is a child soldier training camp, I
presume it will be a big place with many weapons and soldiers living there.
required by compulsion or convention
Having heard it many times, I know when to break into the
obligatory claps and screams.
an interest followed with exaggerated zeal
furor matches that of the Met Bongs.
someone who betrays his country by committing treason
This means we must report to the Angkar suspected infiltrators and
cause to be less responsive to or affected by something
All this information we get in gory detail until we too become
desensitized to the violence.
a large knife used as a weapon or for cutting vegetation
All these tools you know already. We use them to harvest rice, plant vegetables, and build houses. But in the hands of fighters, they are also weapons of war. The round sickle, the hoe, the rake, the hammer, the
machete, the wooden stick, and a rifle.
stretch out one's limbs or muscles, or the entire body
extended left hand holds and balances the rifle. Your right hand aims and squeezes the trigger. See, it’s easy!”
hold firmly, usually with one's hands
That night I
clutch the gun tight to my chest, my finger resting on the trigger, alternately aiming at the sight of the Youns and up in the sky for the witches.
try to manage without help
Though I tried to be strong, I was weak and did not know how I could
fend for myself without Ma’s protection.
experiencing intense pain especially mental pain
tormented by the knowledge of how much my family is willing to sacrifice for each other.
extremely bad or unpleasant in degree or quality
If Chou gets caught sneaking food she will be severely punished, but she risks it.
attack someone physically or emotionally
assaulted trying to get Geak a bit of chicken meat.
walk with great difficulty
A cold draft hits me and pricks my skin with tiny stings as I imagine Keav
staggering here alone to die among a thousand strangers.
done or made using whatever is available
makeshift hospital, on these yellow-stained cots, many of these patients will die before the sun rises tomorrow.
put out of one's consciousness
My heart dances with hope, but I
a sensation associated with a particular disease
Though from our shiny faces and swollen bodies, we realize that we are all suffering from similar
symptoms: stomachache, extreme exhaustion, diarrhea, and aching joints.