Rode with Zoe to Phnom Penh, the ‘super busy’ place that no one really seems to like. Ok sort of drive in the mini-bus except for the roads that got worse the closer we got to the capital?
Walking down to the river, get talking to a guy at the ferry operation and says tourists love the sunset boatride
Next day, Zoe and I to the Killings Fields and Tuol Seng Genocide Museum. Very merry. The Killing Fields is set at one of the major locations for mass graves (i.e. executions), just on the fringes of the city itself. It was not especially noticeable at the time (the mid-lates 70s) because once the Khmer Rouge gained power, the 3 million people living in PP were almost ALL moved to the countryside almost immediately, leaving a few bureaucrats and factory workers. On entering you’re greeted with a temple to the victims, with a large column of excavated bones filling the interior
The genocide museum contained whatever was found upon the Vietnamese entering PP in 1979 when they invaded as retaliation for the KR attempting to take parts of Vietnam once they needed a new énemy’ to justify their existence. Naturally it was pretty grim, especially the photos of dead prisoners that were taken. Naturally no Cambodian life is worth more or less than a foreigners, but the audio of Kiwi Rob Hamill (the rower!) talking about the experience of his brother Rob - captured by the KR when he sailed into Cambodian waters on a round the world yachting trip - was very, very harrowing
If anything the Cambodian genocide was even more deranged than the Nazis (more thought needed probably) in that anyone could be guilty for any reason - soft hands, speaking another language, having glasses, having an education. All were indicators of corruption, and likely meant you were an enemy of the revolution. Which is why they thought kids were so great - they would take on these messages very easily. Horrific.
Phnom Penh - Not just an awful history
Sunday, December 06, 2015
Phnom Penh, Cambodia