19 September 2014

Cambodia : a soul-stirring destiny

I was in my twenties when the khmer rouge regime took power in Cambodia. I was then more concerned about completing my studies, doing my compulsory military service and finding a job. Cambodia seemed a far away place and news were not very clear about the situation. Back then we did pay less attention to what was going on in the world : no internet, no colour TV, and Cambodia was only one of 150 countries on the earth.

Killing Fields memorial park, Choeung Ek
Young Cambodian victims, 1975

It is only when visiting the Killing Fields memorial park last June near Phnom Penh that I realized the extent of the genocide which took place : one quarter of the entire country’s population was swept away in the most atrocious conditions because of some nebulous ideology. I was also upset that most perpetrators of this crime could pass away more or less quietly ; the few that have been recently convicted were only unlucky to live longer than their accomplice.

As I wrote in an older post, visiting this place after having gone through the populous districts of Phnom Penh, among all the smiling young men or women who are the future of the country, is truly soul-stirring from the contrast it shows. In fact, I do not think I would like to go there again.

Young cambodian boys
Young Cambodians, 2014

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