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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 08, 2014

Wall of Shadows, near Battambang, Cambodia

In many ways Cambodia was the favorite of the four countries I visited on this trip. But the evidence of the Khmer Rouge regime's atrocities was never far away. We were going through some neighborhoods near Battambang, on our way to ride the somewhat famous Bamboo train (I never heard of it, but people seemed to think it was a big deal) when we passed by this stupa/memorial to a local killing field. Our local guide told us 10,008 people were slaughtered here. Apparently the Khmer Rouge were meticulous record keepers. Previously I posted photos of a more well known field near Phnom Penh, but this one was more stark.

The story of this field is told in some detail here.
The skulls. Always the skulls.

The depravity was in a way ingenious. 
Imagine coming up with the idea of punching holds in prisoner's hands and running rope through the holes so they can't escape.
How could George Bush et al say water boarding isn't torture?
Infanticide in order to prevent children growing up to seek revenge.
The regime determined who would marry whom. They wanted the population to grow, but with the limited diet few women could even menstruate.

From reading the history of Pol Pot, the regime Brother Number One, the goal was for all Cambodians to be equal. The only way to achieve that was for everyone to have nothing. Consequently, if you were educated in any way; if you owned anything; if you wore glasses, even if you scrounged in the forest for roots to eat, you were trying to be above everyone else and had to be punished. Pol Pot believed the Cambodian communist paradise was more authentic than China's or the (then) Soviet Union's. 

For three years, eight months and twenty days this hell existed on this earth. It will happen again. Where, I don't know. But it is in our human makeup.

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