here comes my Saturday anecdote of my last summer trip to South-Eastern Asia. I haven’t been able to post one on Wednesday, since this this anecdote’s been harder to express. The sensations I had this day were emotionally hard to handle and I didn’t know whether to share it or no, but I finally thought it is as important to talk about the good ones as the bad ones.
For those who haven’t read my last post, I just arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I woke up after my first night at the NGO Pour un Sourire d’Enfant, where we were about to spend a whole month. My muscles were sore from sleeping on the floor. Indeed, on the first few days, we’d sleep on the boys’ dormitories until they make the classrooms available for us. However, the rooms were empty since the boarders needed their beds. What I especially remember about this day was us going to the S-21 prison, old torturing site during the Cambodian war. It used to be an high school, located on the city centre, and the first thing which came up to my mind was how people couldn’t know what was going on in there? And after this month spent in Cambodia, I understood that most of the Khmers knew, or at least suspected this massacre. What they weren’t forewarned about was how the Khmer Rouge slaughtered as babies as their mothers and fathers. The country has been decimated, people or running away or living in fear and probably being killed for paranoid reasons such as being suspected of espionage.
A room. A bed made of metal bars, nothing else. Blood marks on the floor. Metal chains and handcuffs. Sometimes a window, others nothing but the walls. Written testimonies which close every desire to talk. I felt sick and wanted to be alone. It was so hot and I was sweating. I just needed some air. We seated for a while on the garden, which used to be an extermination and torturing place. I couldn’t stay there longer, I didn’t felt comfortable at all. We followed and got to the worst horror I had ever seen in my life. Rooms divided in eight or ten cells, wood walls built in a rush, cold tiles and darkness. I was cold, my blood had frozen on my veins. I entered in a cell but couldn’t even close the door. Such a feeling is indefinable. How can humans be so mean to each other? It’s terrifying. Disgusting. Absurd. What then came up to my mind was I had everything to learn about life and at this very special moment, about the Khmers and their terrible History. The idea of sharing anecdotes mainly came from this day, when I realized that traveling can also mean discover some dark sides of humanity and people musts remember it…
If some of you want to read or see more about it, contact me and I’ll give you some interesting books, movies or websites about the topic.