Roland Neveu, a journalist born in Brittany, and now living in Bangkok, took many iconic photographs of the Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh, in April 1975.
Roland Neveu. Undated. On the Cambodian Border.
Neveu was one of very few western photojournalists to witness the fall of Phnom Penh, and he then followed the ensuing refugee crisis. His work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Business Week and People magazines.
Beyond Cambodia, Neveu documented the first Soviet prisoners of war in Afghanistan, Beirut’s siege in mid-1982, and the subsequent war in Lebanon until 1985. Amongst other major events, he also covered El Salvador, the NPA guerrilla struggle in the Philippines, and the fall of Marcos.
Neveu is also credited with producing the first videos of the AIDS epidemic in Uganda in 1986.
There is one particular image of his that has always fascinated me, and its caption.
Roland Neveu. April 17, 1975. Residents of Phnom Penh cheer Khmer Rouge soldiers, believing that normal life would return with the civil war over.
As I noted in Cambodia History, initially the population was one the side of the Khmer Rage, in fighting against Lon Nol. So, when KR troops entered the capital, whilst there was trepidation, there was also some jubilance. This was very short lived, as within 24 hours the KR started evacuation everyone from the city, and the Genocide began.
This past weekend, I decided to get into touch with Roland – we had not met before – to ask about the possibility of using this image in my book and /or installation. His gracious and rapid reply was very positive. Exactly how we might collaborate is yet to be decided. But I do feel his work really can add value to audience understanding.
Header – images from Roland Neveu’s website. Available at: https://rnbk.info/works/ (accessed 29/06/2019).
NEVEU, Roland. 2007. The Fall of Phnom Penh. 2015 Edition. Bangkok: Asia Horizons.