Witness Tells KRT of Playing ‘Deaf and Dumb’

A former survey technician during the Pol Pot regime told the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Wednesday how he was told by his teacher to play “deaf and dumb” in order to survive.

Pech Sokha, 55, who was sent from Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo school to the January 1 dam worksite in Kompong Thom province in 1977, said a teacher advised him to keep opinions to himself in order to avoid the wrath of Khmer Rouge officials.

“I remembered this message from my teacher, I was young at that time and I asked my teacher about the regime and my teacher asked me to please act deaf and dumb in order to survive,” Mr. Sokha said.

The witness, who was sent to the dam site in Baray district along with three other pupils, painted a miserable picture of life there.

He also spoke of revolutionary music played at the site, which was designed to be uplifting in an attempt to mask the grim reality of daily life.

“The overall image it seemed it was a happy act but in reality everything was horrible…. It was not reasonable for us to stay alive,” Mr. Sokha said. Hearings continue Thursday.

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