In Defense

AnimeshRay / © Animesh Ray - 03/06/2009 07:39:00 project: Ghosts and the City \ Asia \ Cambodia \ Phnom Pen
I sit at the River House restaurant on Preah Sisovath avenue that lines Tonle Sap river where it joins with the main Mekong across from a silt island.  The sun has set and a full moon appears over the corrugated iron fence that blocks my view of the river.  As I sip my glass of Angkor, I try to remember my thoughts of some 35 years earlier, trying to put myself in a position to defend the Khmer Rouge. 

I can wax eloquent on the Cambodian farmer looking up from his rice field on the monsoon cloud laden with life-giving rain and see speckles of dark bird-like formations, then little dots come down like showers of seeds to shrill whistles and how his little world of red soil and dark mud explodes into fire and thunder.  I could imagine why his wrath would be directed against the conniving Lon Nol of the city folks--the fashionable men and women who sided with the empirialistic notions of world order that rained them death--and so why he would decide to rise up against them and end his misery in the hope of a new nation without war.  I only need to draw your attention to this web site, and ask you to tick the box against US Bombing sites and refresh the map.  Then you will understand why.  Not why we did this to this apparently neutral country during Vietnam war.  But why ordinary Cambodians, under the name of Khmer Rouge, rose up against the city folks. 

But what happened afterward makes my defense of the Khmer Rouge only an apology of embarrassment.  I, like most people outside of Cambodia in those days, simply did not foresee the ferocity of the wrath that would be unleashed on millions of innocent victims. 

As Sartre would have it, I, and you who lived a conscious life during that time, must bear moral responsibility for what had happened in our time.

[Tuol Sleng on the right]
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discussion about this photo  exif data 
04/06/2009 20:45    from : stevev1
Oh boy....that left image......pffff...can't really comment on it. I can't find the words of praise...

Here the dyptych approuch doesn't work Animesh. That left one just overshadows the right. It' in a different class all together. I'd love to see this one at high resolution, better yet as a proper print


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