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18/ Disowning Morris


Taken from the Phnom Penh Post, June 30 - July 13,1995. See also The Wall Street Journal, 13 July 1995.

Disowning Morris

The Editor,

We, the undersigned Cambodia scholars and specialists, wish to express our concern at Stephen J. Morris' campaign against Professor Ben Kiernan of Yale University and against Kieman's leadership of the Cambodian Genocide Program, funded by the US Department of State.

Mr. Morris' assault distorts the record to suit his own political agenda. Prof. Kiernan's detailed responses to Mr. Morris documents these misrepresentations (Wall Street Journal, April 28 and May 30,1995). It is true that like many anti-war activists and observers seared by the experience of misleading propaganda during the Vietnam War, Kiernan in his early twenties initially saw the guerrillas as offering hope for positive change, though even then he was hardly uncritical of the Khmer Rouge. But in 1978 he realized his error and had the courage to acknowledge it in print.

Since 1978, Kiernan has devoted his career to documenting the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Far from being an apologist for Pol Pot, Prof. Kiernan has been an outspoken and untiring opponent of the Khmer Rouge for seventeen years. (During much of that period, Mr. Morris supported a coalition government-in-exile which was dominated by the Khmer Rouge).

We have full confidence in Prof. Kiernan's integrity, professional scholarship, and ability to carry out the important work of the Cambodian Genocide Program. He is a first-rate historian and an excellent choice for the State Department grant.

Mr Morris claims, bizarrely, that Prof. Kiernan is "repugnant to better Cambodia scholars in the West" (Asian Wall Street Journal, May 13, 1995),and that the respected scholars of modern Cambodian history do not respect Mr Kiernan's current work" ( Wall Street Journal, May 15,1995). As Cambodia studies is a small field, and we and our students comprise the majority who publish in the field, we are at a loss to imagine which "scholars" Mr Morris might mean. We are certainly not among them, although Mr. Morris has not been above invoking names without permission. We totally dissociate ourselves from Stephen J. Morris.

-- Eileen Blumenthal, Professor ofTheater, Rutgers University.

-- Chantou Boua, Author: Children of the Killing Fields.

-- Frederick Z. Brown, Author: Second Chance, The United States and Indochina in the 1990s.

-- Nayan Chanda, Author: Brother Enemy.

-- David Chandler,Professor of History, Monash University, Australia and Author: The Tragedy of Cambodian History.

-- Kenton J. Clymer, Chairman, History Department, University of Texas at El Paso.

-- Sara Colm, former Managing Editor, Phnom Penh Post.

-- Dith Pran, Cambodian holocaust survivor.

-- May Ebihara, Professor of Anthropology, City University of New York.

-- Craig Etcheson,Author: The Rise and Demise of Democratic Kampuchea.

-- Lindsay French, Postdoctoral Fellow, East-West Center, Hawaii.

-- Kate G. Frieson, Assistant Professor,Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Victoria, Canada.

-- Linchy Higham, Cambodian holocaust survivor.

-- Helen Jarvis, Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales.

-- Raoul Jennar, Director, Centre Européen de Recherches sur L'Extrême-Orient.

-- Theanvy Kuoch, Cambodian holocaust survivor.

-- Judy Ledgerwood, Research Fellow, East-West Center, Hawaii.

-- Laura McGrezo, Cambodia Project Director, International Human Rights Law Group.

-- Thida Buth Man, Cambodian holocaust survivor and co-Author: To Destroy You is No Loss.

-- John Marston, Coordinator Khmer Language, S.E. Asian Studies Summer Institute, University of Wisconsin.

-- Milton E. Osborne, Author: Sihanouk: Prince of Light, Prince of Darkness.

-- Paul Quinn-Judge, Far Eastern Economic Review correspondent, Bangkok, 1982-1985.

-- Kelvin Rowley, Senior Lecturer, International and Political Studies, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia and co-Author: Red Brotherhood at War.

-- Mary F. Scully, R.N.C.S., Director, Khmer Health Advocates.

-- Toni Shapiro, Postdoctoral Fellow, East-West Center, Hawaii.

-- Michael Vickery, Associate Professor of History, University Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.


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