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Activity 3: Government, Religion, War, Dance

Show the first twenty minutes of the video "Rebuilding the Temple, Cambodian in America" (found in kit). This portion of the video is very powerful and ties together many of the issues addressed in the short stories. It is an excellent way to clarify issues and promote critical-thinking discussions.

  1. Before showing video to children, watch the entire video.
  2. Stop the video after the Cambodian killings are discussed. Ask children for their responses and reactions.
  3. Continue the video until it comes to the second part, titled Cambodians in America and then stop. Review all questions from the children.
  4. After the video, divide the children into four groups: Government, Religion, War, Dance. Note: The video mentions the importance of dance to the Cambodians and how Pol Pot abolished dancing. Discuss this with students before dividing them into groups.
  5. Students should develop questions about their topic (government, religion, war and dance) with their groups.
  6. After students brainstorm questions, meet as a group and list the questions on the board.
  7. On the following day display a time line (below) and address all student questions. Many of the questions students have will be clarified with the time line.

Note: Reviewing chapters in the books "Pol Pot" and "Cambodia" will be very helpful.


Cambodia Time Line


Cambodia asks French to help fight the Thai and Vietnamese


French agree to protect Cambodia (lasts until 1953)


King dies and French choose Sihanouk (nephew) to be the new king


French lose W.W.II and Japanese enter Cambodia but leave French in charge


Japanese ask French to leave Cambodia


King Sihanouk asks French to return


France give independence to Cambodia


King Sinhanouk gave up the throne to his uncle and was elected Prime Minister


Pol Pot takes charge in Cambodia. Became the second most important person of the Communist movement in Cambodia


Pol Pot completely in charge of Communist movement


US troops go to fight in Vietnam.


General Lon Nol took over Sinhanouk's Prime Ministership without Sinhanouk's knowledge


Cambodia was bombed because Vietnamese were hiding in Cambodia


Pol Pot takes Phnom Penh and renames Cambodia Democratic Kampuchea


Vietnam invades Cambodia


Vietnam withdraws voluntarily


Vietnam invades again and takes over the capital


Vietnam withdraws from Cambodia. Fighting begins between the Communists and the Cambodians


UN peace negotiations taking place to help make peace in Cambodia


Pol Pot was invited to join the unified government but Cambodians forced him out of the negotiations