Photo of the Day - May 24, 2010
Taken by Gassia
Child street vendors selling books in Phnom Penh.
Now I am free from the past.– S-21 prison survivor Bou Meng at his biography signing event on May 23, 2010.
Photo of the Day - May 23, 2010
Photo taken by Gassia
S-21 prison survivor Bou Meng at his biography signing event on May 23, 2010 at Monument Books in Phnom Penh. Bou Meng’s talent for painting saved him; he was assigned to paint portraits of Pol Pot and other Communist leaders. In his book, he recalls that prison guards forewarned him: “If the portrait is not lifelike, you will be dead.”
After about 2 days of traveling and a wonderful layover in Hong Kong thanks to the Xie family, we finally arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport around 8:30PM on May 19.
We were greeted by Doug and DC-Cam staff members, Kunthy and Samphors, who had spent 3 months in the U.S. during our Spring semester this year. Before checking into our rooms at the Golden Gate Hotel, we stopped by Lucky market [‘psa Lucky’ in Khmer :)], which offers countless local and imported foods and products. Phnom Penh is such a vibrant, beautiful and bustling city.
We came to Cambodia right before a very special day: May 20 is the national Day of Anger, the day Cambodians come together to commemorate the genocide committed by the Khmer Rouge and pay their respects to the victims.
After seizing power in 1975, the Khmer Rouge, a communist guerrilla organization, deported millions of people from the cities to the countryside, forcing the country to shift to a complete agrarian society. Intellectuals, foreigners, professionals, upperclass Cambodians and Buddhist monks were all considered enemies of the revolution and were purged. Only peasants who had no connections to the former government or to the cities were the core of the new society. The Khmer Rouge used metaphors such as “pull up the grass, dig up the roots” when purging ‘enemies of the revolution’.
Kunthy and Samphors informed us that we will be attending the Day of Anger commemoration at the Choeung Ek Killing Fields, where about 16,000 people were executed and buried in mass graves. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to experience such a significant event.
Photo of the Day - May 19, 2010
Taken by Gassia
Arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport