Dr. Benny Widyono, adjunct professor of Economics on the Stamford campus, will speak on October 16 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison about his recent book, Dancing in Shadows: Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and the United Nations in Cambodia. This books recreates his experience in Cambodia while being a member of the UN transitional authority and then as a personal envoy to the UN secretary-general after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. He describes the fierce battles for power centering on King Norodom Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The talk will focus on the premise of the book, that Cambodia had, during the cold war, due to its geopolitical location, experienced enormous chaos, turmoil, civil war and deep despair in the ongoing power struggle for hegemony in Southeast Asia. Thus, when the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime was ousted by Vietnamese troops on January 7 1979, diplomatic maneuverings in the United Nations in New York continued to recognize the Khmer Rouge regime as the legitimate government of Cambodia for another 11 years culminating in Paris Peace Agreements which were themselves flawed. These past unjust decisions continued to haunt Cambodia long after the Khmer Rouge was ousted and sent to the jungles near Thailand.