《经济学人》:用绘画保命的柬埔寨人
日期:2011-09-26 11:16

(单词翻译:单击)

Vann Nath
凡纳

Vann Nath, a Cambodian who painted to stay alive, died on September 5th, aged 65
凡纳,用绘画保命的柬埔寨人,9月5日去世,享年65岁

Sep 17th 2011 | from the print edition

WHEN he was 52, with a hand that still trembled, Vann Nath produced a painting of a young man lying under a blossoming tree. He was playing a pipe while, in the background, cattle grazed by green palms in some bucolic corner of Cambodia. It was meant to be a self-portrait, he said, a beautiful memory from his childhood. He wanted only to paint idyllic landscapes now, in the style of temple murals or the French Impressionists who had first inspired him to take up art.

52岁的时候,用还在颤抖的手,凡纳(Vann Nath)画了一幅画:一位少年躺在开满花的树下吹着牧笛,牛儿在吃草,背后是柬埔寨某些村落里可见的绿棕榈。他说这原本是幅自画像,是童年的美好回忆。现在的他只想画田园风光,像寺院壁画或法国印象派那样,是他们把自己领上了艺术之路。

That was because, in 1978-79, he had been made to paint quite different pictures. In those months he was interned in S-21 prison, a former French lycée in Phnom Penh which had been converted into a torture-compound for alleged enemies of the Khmer Rouge regime. Perhaps 14,000 people were sent to S-21 for a daily routine of electrocution, water-boarding and flagellation before being carted off for execution—a shovel or spade to the head—at the nearby “killing fields”. Mr Vann Nath was one of only six or seven prisoners to make it out alive.

这是因为,1978-79年间他被迫作的画与此大相径庭,他被囚禁在S-21监狱数月,S-21前身是金边市内一所法国高中,后被红色高棉政权改造成为关押其宣称敌人的刑讯地。据计大概有14,000人被送进S-21监狱,接受日常惯例的电击,水刑和鞭刑,直到在附近的“杀人场”被断头处决——用铁锹或铁锨击打头部。凡纳是仅存的六七名生还者之一。

He never expected to. Like almost all the others, he had no idea why he had been sent there. He was not an intellectual; his family was poor and provincial, and he just a painter in a small business making signs and billboards. In 1975, obedient to the Khmers Rouges, he had joined a peasant commune and worked hard there. When he first saw the wasted prisoners in S-21, he thought it was all over for him. But after withering away for a month, fed so sparely on rice gruel that he felt an urge to consume the flesh of the dead, he was asked to paint portraits of the regime’s leader, Pol Pot.

他从未想到这些。和众多人一样,他不知道自己为什么被送到这里。他不是知识分子,远在乡下,家境贫寒,他只是一家小牌匾公司的画师。1975年,他服从红色高棉下达的命令,加入一个农民公社,在那里卖力劳动。第一次看到S-21里羸弱不堪囚犯的时候,他想一切都结束了。一个月过去他逐渐消瘦萎靡,吃的不过是稀粥,他只想速死。但这时有人要他去画领袖像:红色高棉的领袖波尔布特(Pol Pot)。

At first he thought he could not do it. The shocks and beatings meant that he could barely stand. Besides, he had no idea what Pol Pot looked like, and only a black-and-white photograph to copy. All the time he painted, day and night, the screams of the tortured echoed from other rooms. He hoped, with every brush-stroke, that his jailers would like his work and let him live. He focused by thinking how much he would like to kill the man he drew.

起初他觉得自己做不来。但他受不了电击和殴打。此外,除了一张黑白照片可供描摹,他不知道波尔布特是什么模样。他一直在画,夜以继日,其他的房间里回荡着受刑者的惨叫。每画一笔,他都希望看管他的狱卒会喜欢这幅画,让他活命。他多想杀掉画中人,他靠着这种想法来集中精力。

Nonetheless, he carried out the task to the satisfaction of Duch, the prison commandant, the one—and still only—former cadre now being held to account for his role in the revolution. For his flattering portraits, giving Pol Pot a fresh-faced girl’s rosy cheeks, Mr Vann Nath’s name in the prison ledger was tagged “Keep for use”. But for that “keeping”, he often said, he would be dead.

尽管如此,因为自己那幅曲意逢迎,赋予波尔布特少女般玫瑰面庞的画作,他完成的这次任务让监狱长杜赫——目前唯一为自己在那场革命中的角色负责并受到控制的前柬共干部满意。凡纳的名字在监狱名单上被归类为“留着用”。他经常说,如果不是那个“留”字,他可能就死了。

When a Vietnamese invasion swept the Khmers Rouges from power, in January 1979, his portrait-painting ended. But in 1980-81 an even more harrowing spell of art began. The fleeing warders of S-21 left behind troves of documents outlining the prison’s work, but it was Mr Vann Nath, painting his memories in sombre oils, who showed most vividly what had happened there. Blindfolded men, women and children trucked into the compound in the middle of the night. Men carried, trussed like pigs, on bamboo poles. Babies torn from their mothers’ arms—to be smashed against walls, he learned later. Prisoners prodded, whipped and steered by stone-faced cadres into holding cells to be crammed side by side, like decaying logs. For many years after the Khmers Rouges fell from power, the upper echelons of the regime denied S-21’s existence. Mr Vann Nath caught its reality in furtive glances, as he moved from cell to workshop.

1979年1月,一支越南军队扫清红色高棉政权,凡纳也停止了画人像。但1980-81年间是一段更让人锥心蚀骨的艺术开始。仓皇逃窜的S-21狱卒留下的文件书写了监狱运作的大体轮廓,然而正是凡纳用昏暗,严肃的颜料描绘出的个人记忆,才活生生的展示了那里曾经发生的过往。午夜时分,蒙住眼的男子,妇女和儿童被卡车运进集中营。男人被扎在竹竿上,像猪一样;婴儿从母亲的怀里被扯出来——不久凡纳才明白,婴儿会被摔死在树上;囚犯被面如铁石的狱卒刺戳,鞭打,扭送进囚禁室,再一个挨一个的挤在一起,像正在腐烂的木头。红色高棉丧失权力很多年后,此政权高层仍然否认S-21的存在。而凡纳在囚禁室到作画室的路上,一次次用秘密的一瞥记录下了S-21的现实。

He painted by stilling his mind, in a process both painful and therapeutic. But painting still made no sense of what he had seen. It seemed to him that Cambodia could not cleanse itself of such an evil, and that his works were not good enough to do such horror justice. He only hoped the souls of those who had died would get some ease from them.

他静下心来作画,这是痛苦和治愈的过程。但绘画不足以澄明他看到的一切。在他看来,柬埔寨似乎永远无法洗清这场罪恶,他的作品也做不了如此令人恐惧的审判,他只希望逝者能从画中得到一些慰藉。

When S-21 was turned into a museum of the national self-genocide he had witnessed, some of his pictures hung on the walls. One day, for the first time since 1979, he saw one of his former jailers there, a “tiger” he had dreaded. Having puffed a few cigarettes to steel himself—for he was always a man of poise, despite his tormented past—he approached him affably and guided him by the shoulder to his paintings hanging there. “Is this accurate?” he asked. It was, the jailer conceded.

当S-21集中营变成纪念柬埔寨国家自我屠杀博物馆后,他看到墙上挂着自己的一些作品。一天,他自1979年后第一次在那儿看到了关押过自己的一名狱卒——他曾惧怕过的一只“恶虎”。凡纳吸了几口烟让自己坚强起来——尽管他受过折磨,可他一直是个泰然自若的人——他像走近朋友那样走近那位狱卒,扶着他的肩膀带他看自己的画。“画的准吗?”他问。是那样,那名狱卒承认道。

The international media, whose questions about S-21 he patiently answered time after time, called him Cambodia’s Goya. He brushed it off. His principal fear was that young Cambodians would not learn about—or, worse still, would not believe—what he had witnessed. He painted, he said, so that Cambodia would never turn on itself so monstrously again.

国际媒体不断询问关于S-21的事,他都耐心作答。媒体称他是柬埔寨的戈雅,他对此不置臧否。他最深的恐惧是年轻一代柬埔寨人可能不会了解这些——或者更糟,不会相信他所见证的一切。他作画,他说,这样柬埔寨就不会再次变得如此怪异,如此邪恶。

Silent witness
沉默的证人

Two years ago Mr Vann Nath took the stand as a witness against Duch, his former master, who is now appealing a 35-year jail sentence handed down by a UN-backed war-crimes court in Cambodia. A second trial, of four senior leaders of the regime, is not expected to start until next year. The defendants say they are too ill to stand trial. They are attended, however, by a world-class team of doctors; Mr Vann Nath, who suffered years of kidney disease, struggled to afford even basic care. His testimony will be missing from subsequent proceedings. His paintings, however, speak for him.

两年前凡纳作为证人出庭,指证他从前的主人——杜赫,杜赫被联合国支持的柬埔寨战争罪法庭判处有期徒刑35年,现在正在为此上诉。由四名柬埔寨资深法官主持的二审要到明年才开始。那些被告说自己已经年老体衰,经不住审判,他们被囚禁,却受到一队世界级医生的照顾;而凡纳饱受多年的肾病折磨,却要努力维持甚至基本的护理。接下来的庭讯人们再不会听到他的证词,然而他的画会代他说出心声。

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重点单词
  • appealingadj. 引起兴趣的,动人的
  • nonethelessadv. 尽管如此(仍然)
  • urgevt. 驱策,鼓励,力陈,催促 vi. 极力主张 n.
  • bucolicadj. 乡村的,田园的,牧羊的,牧民的
  • jailn. 监牢,监狱,拘留所 vt. 监禁,下狱
  • consumev. 消耗,花费,挥霍
  • provincialn. 乡下人,地方人民 adj. 省的,地方的,偏狭的
  • satisfactionn. 赔偿,满意,妥善处理,乐事,确信
  • testimonyn. 证明,证据
  • kidneyn. 肾,腰子,类型