April 17, 1975 Sam Sotha and his wife Sony, along with thousands of
others, were forced by the Khmer Rouge to leave Phnom Penh. Shot,
tortured, starved and enslaved in hard labor was the fate of many
Cambodians during the Khmer Rouge years.
In The Shade of A Quiet Killing Place: A Personal Memoir,
Sam Sotha tells a moving personal story of love and a couple’s struggle
for survival during the four years of their captivity by the Khmer
the context of intense brutality and human tragedy, Sam Sotha’s
In The Shade of A Quiet Killing Place gives an inspiringly beautiful
portrait of love between husband and wife that refused to yield under
such terror. Forced to leave their home and then from one prison camp
to another, Sam and Sony endured and witnessed family separation,
torture, starvation, mindless killings and acts more horrific than
death. Yet, against it all their spiritual bond only grew stronger
and became unbreakable. The strength of their love guided the couple
through the darkest moments, when it seemed only a miracle could save
them from certain death.
memoir is based on a hand-written diary and drawings recorded while
the couple waited for resettlement in the United States in a refugee
camp in Thailand. The book contains over fifty unique Khmer-style
drawings capturing the time and place, the emotions, danger and turmoil
in the couple’s experiences during the Pol Pot rule.
Sotha and his wife Sony resettled in the United States in 1982, where
they raised two children. Sotha became a leading advocate for refugees
and an active political leader in the US. The couple returned to work
in Cambodia in 1995. Sam Sotha has since served as Secretary-General
of Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA). He
also serves as advisor to the prime minister of Cambodia.