In the Kingdom of Dust & Stolen Dreams, ignorance and arrogance are the de rigueur hallmarks of authority.

Rather than utilizing juvenile elementary school posters of babies and dogs present in my classroom to further illustrate the importance of an awareness and understanding of content and context, I have invited my BA students to watch the following video produced by the Cambodian government’s “Human Rights” commission, and come to their own conclusions about the principles of content & context.

A screenshot of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee’s video on human rights that labelled the Singaporean skyline as Libya before civil war. YouTube

In the broadest and most general terms, what ideas or issues do the content & context of this video illustrate for viewers? 

Would someone inside Cambodia have the same understanding of the context and interpretation of the video’s content as people without? 

Much as the last time local police officials attributed the suspicious death of a tourist to oxygen deprivation caused by trees in the forest, I went temporarily batty after viewing the video and reading the Phnom Penh Post’s reaction to it.

It clearly appears as if the government wants to frighten Cambodians into believing citizens are responsible for the acts of violence and violations of universal human rights perpetrated against them. The video is a model of pure, unadulterated authoritarian propaganda.

Much later in the day, I started laughing out loud as soon as the best student in an otherwise very weak group wrote this sentence on the board, 

“The children in the Cambodia are not allowed to vote, nor are they allowed to work in another company.”

I was so tempted to take a picture of it. Instead, I said, “If anybody asks you why your teacher killed himself, show them this sentence.”


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