Crossing over and Phnom Penh

Arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia after 3 hours on a speed boat and another hour on a bus. My first impression is that Cambodia is incredibly flat. There are no hills or mountains to be seen for as far as the eye can see. In the city there are no tall buildings so it’s even trickier than most Asian cities to navigate.

In my opinion, the main reason for visiting this city is to learn about the horror of the Khmer Rouge regime and pay respects to those who were killed during the 3 year rule. I visit both the prison museum and the killing fields. I’m speechless as to how horrific the people were treated and tortured during the 3 years, it’s far too much to take in and almost unbelievable that this happened so recently.

My mother would of been 15 years old when hundreds of thousands of people in Cambodia were being tortured and executed, far to recent to contemplate. By coincidence I visit the killing fields on the day that one of the perpetrators, Duch, is being charged. The verdict is 35 years in prison for which he will serve 19 years.

Cambodian people are outraged, and so they should be. Fourteen to twenty thousand lives were lost at the prison which he governed and he should be served with many life sentences. The people were intellectuals, artists and anyone they considered to be ‘enemies of the revolution’. I’m so saddened to think he might one day walk out of prison a free man.

sian