Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cambodia, Khmer Rouge: Former Khmer Rouge stronghold struggles with history -

Cambodia, Khmer Rouge: Former Khmer Rouge stronghold struggles with history -

As the ghost of the Khmer Rouge's Killing Fields becomes a part of the curriculum, you wonder how the people are going to process the information. Having been to Cambodia, it seems to be a country in a state of recovery. Part of this is related to the influence of its next door neighbor, Vietnam.

To this date, there seems to be a feeling of distrust for the Vietnamese, but the problem also is that without the Vietnamese going to war against the Khmer Rouge and basically occupying the country, the killing fields probably were going to continue even more. This is sort of a mixed package.

Additionally, the bombings by America served to help set up the Khmer Rouge in the first place.

After the bombings, basically it secured the legitimacy of the Khmer Rouge as potential saviors against the secret bombings by the US.  For each political decision, often there are unforeseen consequences.

The only way it would end would be the invasion by Vietnam.  In many ways, the Vietnamese are still very present in the country.  

Cambodia is still recovering.  I had a discussion with one of my colleagues who is Cambodian.  He flat out told me that he has no desire to go to Cambodia.  Even today, there are land mines and other problems.  For example, at the NagaWorld Hotel/Casino, Cambodians are not allowed to go there.  It is full of Chinese and Vietnamese gamblers.  When you go to Cambodia, it is remarkably beautiful, but it has ghosts that are constantly haunting the country.