17 May 2010

Pol Pot’s Regime & The Khmer Rouge Years

I was back in Phnom Penh for 2 days and the group planned to visit the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields.  Again, I made the choice to revisit both places.  I want to share with you a poem I discovered in S21 that brought home to me so graphically, what the Khmer Rouge years might have been like.  This poem is written by Sarith Peou who was born in 1962 and survived the Khmer Rouge years.  He is now serving time in a prison in Minnesota.   While there he converted to Christianity and has dedicated his life to moral and spiritual transformation within the prison.

Corpse Watching - Sarith Peou

P4240961 No religious rituals.
No religious symbols.
No fortune teller.
No traditional healers.
No paying respect to elders.
No social status. No titles.
No education. No training.
No school. No learning.
No books. No library.
No science. No technology.
No pens. No paper.
No currency. No bartering.
No buying. No selling.
No begging. No giving.
No purses. No wallets.
No human rights. No liberty.
No courts. No judges.
No laws. No attorneys.
No communications.
No public transportations.
No private transportations.
No traveling. No mailing.
No inviting. No visiting.
No faxes. No telephones.
No social gatherings.
No chitchatting.
No jokes. No laughter.
No music. No dancing.
No romance. No flirting.
No fornication. No dating.
No wet dreaming.
No masturbating.
No naked sleepers.
No bathers.
No nakedness in showers.
No love songs. No love letters.
No affection.
No marrying. No divorcing.
No marital conflicts. No fighting.
No profanity. No cursing.
No shoes. No sandals.
No toothbrushes. No razors.
No combs. No mirrors.
No lotion. No make up.
No long hair. No braids.
No jewellery.
No soap. No detergent. No shampoo.
No knitting. No embroidering.
No coloured clothes, except black.
No styles, except pyjamas.
No wine. No palm sap hooch.
No lighters. No cigarettes.
No morning coffee. No afternoon tea.
No snacks. No desserts.
No breakfast [sometimes no dinner].
No mercy. No forgiveness.
No regret. No remorse.
No second chances. No excuses.
No complaints. No grievances.
No help. No favours.
No eyeglasses. No dental treatment.
No vaccines. No medicines.
No hospitals. No doctors.
No disabilities. No social diseases.
No tuberculosis. No leprosy.
No kites. No marbles. No rubber bands.
No cookies. No popsicle. No candy.
No playing. No toys.
No lullabies.
No rest. No vacations.
No holidays. No weekends.
No games. No sports.
No staying up late.
No newspapers.
No radio. No TV.
No drawing. No painting.
No pets. No pictures.
No electricity. No lamp oil.
No clocks. No watches.
No hope. No life.
A third of the people didn't survive.
The regime died.


"The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page"

Saint Augustine

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