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Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Written on: Saturday January 27th, 2007

A journal entry from: Southeast Asia

Charming and captivating with its pagoadas, monks, colonial buildings, restaurants, cafes and markets, Phnom Pehn is also a city causing dismay and distress.  With a history so horrific and so recent, one can't help but feel the anguish and sorrow in the faces that beg on the street or in the families that live along the river.  Everyone must carry a family story of  hardship and deprivation. Visiting the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum shows such a black side of human nature. The Khmer Rouge barbarically turned a local high school into a security prison called S-21 where they would detain, deprive and torture innocent people before taking them out to the killing fields.  How could the world have not done anything?!  In this site alone, about 17,000 people were exterminated.  It is estimated that over 2 million people died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.  The horrific barbarism is so evident by the bones and clothing, and at the security prison the classrooms are lined with photographs of the victims ? taken by the Khmer Rouge.  Bringing it even more real, was the emotional telling of our guide's story.  She was ten when the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh in 1975 and sent everyone out of the city, declaring it Year Zero.  Families were separated on the exile from the city, relocated at different encampments to do forced labour. No one was allowed to speak to each other, working long hard days with very little food. If you didn?t die from starvation, overwork or illness, you were used to reinforce fear among the people and taken away to a ?reeducation camp?  or a detention centre never to be seen again.

In contrast to the darkness of the past, the city is beautiful. The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoada are stunning.  Looking forward to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat... 


From Steve in Vancouver on Jan 31st, 2007

Hello folks.......the adventure continues..........Marilyn.............you should consider writing a book at some time...excellent writing skills. We all miss you here and think about you guys every day. Love it all....Steve and girls

From Bryan Rite on Jan 31st, 2007

I didn't realize you brought Ansel Adams on your trip with you! ...oh you didn't? Great photos guys

From Pat Dooley and Pat Leslie on Feb 1st, 2007

Mare and Greg...Here I am at AIC showing Pat et al your blog. I agree with Steve. You are a model of powerful literacy. Love and MISS YOU SO MUCH! Pat

From Pat Leslie on Feb 1st, 2007

I agree with the rest of them, you are a writer. Very interesting, thanks, Pat Leslie

From Johnny on Feb 2nd, 2007

My...my...my..... I drift away every time I see your photoes and journals......glad to know you are doing well..... happy here.... Gaelen on solid foods.....school surviving although an odd state of limbo..... much love.... John