Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guns and stuff

Yesterday we took a tuktuk to see some of the sights around Phnom, Penh. We started at a shooting range where I got to shoot an AK 47 and an M16. the closest I ever thought I would come to shooting a gun was playing James Bond back in the day. It was an indoor range and I had a hanging target to shoot at. I got him in the face a couple of times and the neck. i actually did much better with a real gun than a Nintendo controller. I also blew the hell out of a coconut with the M16. This by no means turned me into a gun person and feeling the power behind a gun in fact solidified my stance on guns. It was good fun and maybe next time I'll spring for the rocket launcher at $300.00, but I doubt it.

This is my Christmas card photo next year! haha

Then we moved on to the more serious part of our trip with was to visit The Killing Fields. As one can imagine it was horrible. The feeling that came over me as we stepped onto the grounds was a mix of nausea and fear. I can't begin to imagine what was felt by those who had to experience such a terrible place. It was much smaller than I had expected but it was big enough to feel the atrocities that took place there. I split off from the others because I needed to just process it on my own. When I came to "The Killing Tree" I started to dry heave. This is a tree the Khmer Rouge would swing babies and children against to kill them and then throw their bodies into a nearby pit. After all of the mass graves had been exhumed the skulls and bones were placed in a shrine that stands in the middle of The Killing Fields. We then moved on to S21 which was a school that had been turned into a prison by the KR. It was another hard place to see. I couldn't stop the tears that streamed down my face as I looked at the pictures of the people who had lived there and died there. I just cannot understand how one day a person is a math teacher and the next day he is the right hand man to Pol Pot ordering children (most of the "guards" were in their early teens) to torture the prisoners there. When we were getting ready to leave we met an old man who was selling a book. It is his biography of living at S21 for 2 years. His wife lived there too but was transported to the killing fields. I found a YouTube video of him.

 I am in love with this old man and I have the same questions he does. Why to the men and women who were the soldiers of the KR live in better conditions than the men, women and children who were victims? For the last 30 years this man has been waiting for his death because of what Pol Pot and his clique took away from him.
Liz, Bou Meng and Me at S21
Sites like this are not fun and not a great place for photos in fact it really brought down our day but we need to visit sites like this to remember and to prevent atrocities like these from happening again. People may think that they cannot make a difference and sometimes it IS easier to just go with the flow but as my favorite quote says:

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