About Me

My photo

A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Madness

My memory card reader for the iPad broke a couple days ago and I haven't been able to upload any photos. But thanks to Apple's international reach I scored a new one this afternoon in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Although the following few posts will be out of chronological order I feel it necessary to start with today's activities and work backwards.

After our war in Indochina we more or less lost interest in the region. Without going into the whole history of it, a guy with the funny name of Pol Pot came to power in Cambodia (which he re-named Kampuchea, Democratic Republic of). Pot rode to power on the backs of a people's army known as the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer are the traditional ethnic group with a long history in Southeast Asia.

But, Pol Pot was to write the darkest, most evil chapter in that history. You may remember the movie "The Killing Fields." Today was about that.
This is the entry gate to one of some 196 known killing fields in Cambodia. It lies about ten miles outside oh Phnom Penh.
The memorial stupa to the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Seventeen floors of skulls and bones are contained within the memorial stupa.
Tens of thousands lost their lives to this madman and his followers.
Men, women and children.
The depressions seen beyond the trees are where the bodies were thrown.
Even yet today bits of bone and cloth belonging to the victims still surface after rains.
On this tree loudspeakers were hung, playing loud music to drown out the screams, moans and cries of the victims, so the nearby farmers couldn't find out what was happening.
Children and infants had their heads bashed against this tree until they were dead. The dark area to the top right of the tree is the bloodstain, which almost forty years on remains.
Later, we drove into Phnom Penh to visit the notorious S-21 prison, a former school converted to a place of torture and death. The barbed wire across the front was used to prevent the prisoners from leaping to their deaths. A dead prisoner was worthless to the Khmer Roughe regime because they had no more secrets to give up under torture.
The rules of life in S-21.
In three years, eight months and twenty days the Khmer Rouge murdered over two million of its own citizens, one quarter of the country's population. They were finally driven out of power by neighboring Viet Nam in 1979.
One of the cells in S-21.

In the last century we've seen the likes of Hitler (6+million Jews, gypsies, catholica, homosexuals, etc.), Stalin (10 million Russian peasants), Uganda with Idi Amin, Rwanda, Cambodia, Armenia, the list goes on. And before we get all smug with our American exceptionalism, remember in the previous century we exterminated an entire continent of indigenous people.

So I'm thinking: Is there any other species that matches us for this kind of savagery? Why do we humans give in to mad men and mad ideas that result in these terrible things?

We are clearly a flawed species.

No comments: