June 10, 2008

"- And all the angels beat their wings in time..... Shine a light!"

Imagine if your neighbourhood school suddenly turned into a prison of the most evil sort; And I mean evil in the purest of forms.... Where children and young people is guarding you, torturing you and killing you for no offence other than being alive, able to read or some other misdemeanor..... The horror is not the prison it self, but the ordinariness of it all; It's located in the middle of a pretty and quiet street. Being a former school, you can still see the blackboards used in the classrooms turned into cells and torture facilities... This is right in the middle of Phnom Penh, at the time (1975- 78) a very deserted ghost city, as the xenophobic Kmer Rouge didn't believe in education and such frivolities, only in the rice growing, back aching, painful life of a peasant.. So they tried to turn the whole Kmer nation into such lucky, lucky people! And using such much force and violence in the process, that when their 3 and half year regime ended, they left a country devoid of culture, education, skills, religion, food ...... and men... only 30% of the male population survived the "Mighty Revolution" - Not that women weren't killed along the rest of the "enemies of the cause", but mostly men and boys.. Either as prisoners or as child soldiers against the Vietnamese army!

The young children used as guards were reportedly "normal"when the started; But in a short while, they evolved into these monsters of pure evil - sorry to repeat my self, but I have no other term for the inhumane activities of these youngsters - But as in Nazi Germany the monster starts to feed on it's own and many of the original jailers became incarcerated and killed them selves, by another generation of youths waiting to take over.... Can't remember if I have already written about a BBC "Hardtalk" I saw before I left Denmark? It was an interview with the American Proffesor P. Zambardo and his Stanford studies on the evil that apparently lies dormant in all of us "normal people"- Yes I have, just tag Zambardo or the BBC and the piece will turn up!
It was a "good" and sobering visit, this morning.... Seeing all the photos of former prisoners, brought in from all over country... Some of them even smiling to the camera, maybe being the first time they were having their photos taken and not knowing what lie ahead, in terms of suffering and pain...... yet? - There is thousands of these photos of old, young, infants... and every each one of them is dead on the premises: Just an ordinary primary school, in the middle of a nice tree lined street in a good neighbourhood...... Even the former pupils' physical training gear was used to torture the prisoners..... What did the neighbours think of the screams in the night ? - It doesn't say..... But the same thing is happening just west of here, one country over in Burma.... this very day!
( Had an annoying experience there, though... Two young Cambodians were making the tour around as well, their mobiles ringing at all times, them laughing and pointing to some of the photos and instruments of torture.... Ahr, the fickleness of memory, youth and respect ...... , I told them at least to go outside, while on their phones, signs everywhere, saying, this is a place for silence.....! First time I've lost my temper in Cambodia)
I will not be going to the so called; Killing Fields.... The rain has washed away the earth, and the bones are laid bare in the mass graves..... I do not believe in walking upon the remains of humans and anyway, hopefully their souls has gone to a quieter place....
Think I'll go the the Silver Pagoda instead, when the rain ceases and pay my respects to the living and the dead........
Shine a light.................................

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