Phnom Peng diary (pt1) – Now, this city has changed!

I came to Phnom Peng in the summer day in July, the rainy season in the middle of fertile plains fertile. As the intersection of Tongle Sap river connected to the sea Lake and legendary Mekong River, Phnom Peng is a charming city with the architectural imprints and Khmer Buddhism, mixed with Western-style buildings sprouting closely in the new neighborhood.

On the island in the Mekong, Red River larger floating a little park, high-rise buildings of the real estate company has a good reputation in the world and has completed foundation, promises to become the face of modern capital Wat Thap country.

On the street, the line of vehicles traveling much less crowded Hanoi or HCMC. Ho Chi Minh, even with many more cars. They all carry the breath of a city of young, dynamic, and full of optimism about the future.

Few could have imagined that just over thirty years ago, retail, Phnom Peng is just a handful of the ruined city with a few thousand inhabitants compared with nearly two million people as now. When the Vietnam team with Cambodian liberation forces entered the city, all just left the crumbling ruins of an atmosphere that reeked of death.

Four years under Pol Pot genocidal regime, which they called the “year zero” (Year Zero), millions of people were forced to flee their homes to the countryside to do hard labor.

To build a “dictatorship of the proletariat” and a “just society” absolute, the Khmer Rouge turned Cambodia all people to “proletariat” actually its literally: to go without allowed to bring any valuable asset yet. Privately owned entirely removed. Monetary and trading relations abolished, totalitarian state regime is established.

To “re-structure society”, the Khmer Rouge decided “leveling class” by renovating or “final solution” to the intellectual forces, elements that they are opposed to “Angka” ( Organisation), spying for foreign countries, and that those counter-revolutionary.

Cambodia map with skull people, with images Swimming beach is highlighted by color blood
More than 90% of Cambodian intellectuals forces were killed during this period, the number of which is probably the tyrants hate the extreme intellectuals such as Qin Shi Huang could not do well.

The “search and destroy” intellectuals of the Pol Pot regime also extremely weird: outside those clearly identified intellectual bourgeoisie, those who wear glasses or no “bottle” were also closed on its hands the amount of outside society.

So there is something new on the social fields of the Khmer Rouge, sometimes there are soldiers jumped down and pulled the hand check is labored. Those who do not hand it was dealt with bottle immediately the fatal blow, then “was” taken to the notorious prison of the Khmer Rouge, synonymous with a death sentence waiting.

Savage genocidal regime ended only when the volunteer forces in Vietnam, combined with the National Salvation Front formed by Cambodia, opening campaign toppled Pol Pot group in late 1978. Within two week, liberators came to Phnom Peng on Khmer Rouge and government forces to flee the capital.

Hell on earth

“Heritage” of the Khmer Rouge’s largest leave before fleeing Phnom Peng’s Tuol Sleng hell on earth, the infamous S21 prison by “Comrade Duch” head, where the nearly 20,000 prisoners were taken to leaving only seven people here live sot.Co stories that when Vietnam soldiers who first entered the prison freed, they were downright horrified to witness what remains here: the cell bloody, pear list corpses not heal, along with pieces of bodies scattered everywhere in a site with a width of only this primary school.

“Despite undergoing two fierce wars in the last half century, the soldiers of Vietnam can not imagine a frightful hell scene so they entered Tuol Sleng.” A-boards About doorstep S21 prison record.

Greatest obsession of mine, as well as anyone who has ever visited the area this living hell, is the portrait of the prisoner, saved by the Khmer Rouge forces.

On June 8-1 in history in 1979, under heavy artillery hours of NLF, the guards did not have time to panic erase the traces of their crimes before escaping from here.

Prisoner S21 are different people, all ages, composition, gender, ethnicity, including foreigners and the baby probably weaned mother, detained at Tuol Sleng and torture.

Unlike at Auschwitz, the concentration camp of Nazi Germany, all the photographs of victims here are the portraits looked straight into the camera. It makes anyone who entered here also feel that tens of thousands of innocent eyes, blankly, is surrounded themselves asked for help.

To express “humanitarian nature” of his, S21 guards began to laugh victims before shooting. But those with a little love man can recognize the smile off their tears. Many were moved to tears when he saw a photograph of a man crying, laughing, when a jailer’s arm trying to grab hip tickled with a smile for his recently cowardly.

The endpoint of the Tuol Sleng prison is a map of Cambodia in the skull, with images Swimming sea is highlighted by the color of blood. It is not clear who made the map supposedly most frightening in human history, but it could have the most accurate description of the country in four years temple tower under the Khmer Rouge regime: only a fields full of blood and death.

“This country is different now then …”

Genocidal regime was abolished, persistent civil war for almost 30 years and ended in 1998, Cambodia is back with pictures of a neutral country, friendly, and above all, love for peace binh.Sau when the last remnants of extremist groups in the Khmer Rouge wiped out the royal army, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia Samdek ordered to collect all the weapons collected during the Civil War, put the middle Phnom Peng Center, for tanks squashing, and use the metal to produce a barrel of the gun is bent, the new symbol for national peace.

For Cambodians, the government is no longer in the top guns as action guideline of the Khmer Rouge, but as said holding force and safeguard peace, reconciliation and national unity.

The trial of the Khmer Rouge atrocities are still happening in Phnom Peng with the help of the UN, with the four top leaders survivors taken to court and forced the various offenses.

Pol Pot died in 1998, and “Comrade Duch”, it was fined 35 years in prison, the sentence is too light for the crimes committed at Tuol Sleng he caused.

But ethnic hatred, perhaps no longer. I have asked the Cambodian people ranging from university professors of the Royal Phnom Peng to the students, from the office staff to the driver tuk-tuk (pedicabs) on the streets, that they may want revenge The Khmer Rouge did not. There is a common answer among them: it is the first shake gently and a friendly smile as enigmatic faces of the Bayon temple.

Going around Cambodia, the most familiar image his statue probably Vayajaman VII, face forward with hands amputated. The Cambodia explained that, after fighting in everywhere and build the most powerful Khmer empire in history, kings have “washed up his sword hand” and determination to build a peaceful nation and peaceful, do not go to war with other countries.

Hands of his arms had been “cut off” forever.

Why a peace-loving nation like Cambodia again suffer such terrible tragedies of history? It’s probably a big question that only after the trial of Khmer Rouge leader name ends in a few years, we have been plausible answer.

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