"The weary oak carries the burden of a hideous past.
Against its trunk, Khmer Rouge soldiers bashed the delicate skulls of infants and small children, tossing their lifeless bodies into open pits.
As if weeping, a deep crimson stain runs down the oak. It is marked forever as the Killing Tree....
...When it comes to the perpetrators, however, it’s not always that black and white. During the trip, students interviewed both perpetrators who were not leaders, and victims, and at times the lines blurred between the two groups.
'It was kill or be killed,” Mangione said of the Khmer Rouge soldiers. “I started thinking about how good people could do terrible things...'"
The thoughts of those who did terrible things and of those who suffered them fill the article. Many perpetrators and victims still live in the same villages.
Kosal Path, who lectures in International Relations at USC, is a driving force in the research. The genocide unfolded around him when he was a small child,
“I lived through this and I don’t remember,” Path said. “I don’t know how I survived.”