I am writing from our red-themed hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We are leaving this great country tomorrow for Vietnam, which I am also really excited about. Phnom Penh is an awesome city, and it has been exciting because it is the Khmer New Year, so everyone is happy and as I am writing, fireworks are going off, and...okay, got a great show from the hotel window :)
On another note, today we went to the killing fields near Phnom Penh, where the horrific Khmer Rouge regime executed and buried over 20,000 Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. During that horrible time somewhere between 1,000,000 and 3,000,000 Cambodians were killed by the Khmer Rouge. According to Wikipedia (I always go straight to the source!) "In terms of the number of people killed as a proportion of the population (est. 7.1 million people, as of 1975), it was the most lethal regime of the 20th century." It is insane to learn about the history of this country. Poor Cambodia has dealt with more than its fair share of war (in my opinion any war is more than anyone's fair share) in the past, and it is absolutely incredible how far the country has come since the end of the Khmer Rouge rule in 1979, after such a destructive and deadly period of time.
Going to the location where such tragedy occurred was very powerful, especially because I had never heard anything about the genocide that occurred in this country before I came to Thailand. It has been overwhelming learning about the atrocities that happened here. Because so much of the population was killed, there are few people older than 50 years old, and that is immediately obvious when you look for it. Phnom Penh was completely evacuated under the Khmer Rouge and everyone who was not killed were enslaved in labor camps, in the name of a new communist Cambodia.
Today was emotional. Seeing 86 mass graves, and thousands of human skulls, many of them with breaks due to violent deaths and injuries to the head, I mean, how can I put that into words? I guess I just felt a need to write about this, maybe some of our readers know as little about what happened here as I knew a few months ago. I hope that America, and the world in general, is able to move toward more peaceful policies.
On that note, we send our love to you all.