Back to the travel bloggin’.
In Phnom Penh, we went to the S-21 prison museum. This converted high-school was used as a prison and torture center by the Khmer Rouge regime. It was an incredibly depressing place. You can’t even start to imagine how such atrocities were committed by man on his fellow countryman. There’s one part of the museum with pictures of all the victims (they were methodically cataloged). I couldn’t take it, so I just walked outside. At the exit, I saw a woman throwing up. Seeing the victims, helpless and worn-down, and knowing what they went through is an extremely jarring experience. At the exit of the museum, they had a guestbook. Loads of people from all over the world had signed and commented. One struck me as exceptionally naive. A guest had written (I’m paraphrasing) “The Cambodian people have a great strength of spirit to lift themselves up from such a tragedy. We must learn from this and make sure it never happens again.”
If some day North Korea and South Korea are united, there will no doubt be a Peace Museum in Pyongyang where people will be able to read about all the human rights violations, shudder and pass their judgments. And you can be sure that at the exit, there will be a guest book where people will write “The Korean people have a great strength of spirit to lift themselves up from such a tragedy. We must learn from this and make sure it never happens again.” It seems we don’t really learn from our (humanity’s) mistakes.
I’ll be way less cynical in the next post. I promise!