After a particularly pensive, but sentimental Shabbat here in Siam Reap, the drunken yells of almost professionally ditzy backpacker co-eds from Merry Ol' England and her Lost Colonies nearly disturbing my davenings and meditations, I had a chilled, scared feeling of creeping Horror. Recently have I become even more educated on the abject terrors of Cambodia Year Zero, the Khmer Rouge, and the psychopathic regime brainwashings of the Peasants starting from Early to Mid-1970s of this our Common Era. Hosts, myriads, millions of innocents have died horrible deaths in heinous , killing knocks of life-breath out of their shivering, starving bodies by the Khmer Rouge in service of the mysterious ideopolitical g-dhead "Angkar", or the "Organization"---which according to propandic party rhetoric means "The People [of Kampuchea]" ; neurotoxins pumping pell-mell through their bloodstreams in that one last terrifying moment before their fallow cheeks hit the damp silt of Mekong or the jungle floor. I am unqualified to give an authoritative denunciation of this unspeakable Crime Against Humanity---for I am but late of birth and too much "an intellectual" to properly 'understand why the Khmer Rouge took to the tactics they did in order to take back Kampuchea from the evil Imperialists, America and France'---'for it is not the intellectuals who will launch the offensive against the Imperialists in the Revolution'---and indeed the great majority of "intellectuals" were "vanished" or shot in the head in plain sight---and one criterion for "intellectual" according the Khmer Rouge "acting on behalf of the anonymous 'Angkar'" was wearing glasses. Thus, anyone with the slightest ascendency of brains met with the wet ditches of the forest never to rise from the thicket---and alas, even the most ignorant of the ignorant (the purest of the pure for Angkar-"Education") were frequently murdered for the most arbitrary of reasons (as if one NEEDS a reason to murder, right?). It has been estimated that between 800,000 to well over 2 million Khmer (the main ethnic group of Cambodia) lost their lives in the great purge after Phnom Penh, the capital, was seized by the Khmer Rouge and later emptied of all ethnic Cambodians, an uncanny feat in a modernizing capital city. It did not help that in Khmer culture there exists a trend to act in downheaded deference to those who wield the Power---and this may be related to the pre-Buddhist influence of Hinduism on ancient Khmer society---which regarded Power-holding as a reflection the acquistion of Merits in past existences. I doubt it would have been so "easy" and relatively "protestless" to empty modern-day Cairo. Still, historically, the Khmer were allegedly renowned as nigh unbeatable warriors in hand-to-hand combat in Old Indochina. Unofortunately, this allegedness did not prevent Kamopuchea from being annexed and conquered over and over again, by the likes of Vietnam and the Thai, ancestral enemies of the Khmer, and later, by the dreaded "Imperialists" of The West. Here, I have come to this place to weep for Kampuchea---for the Khmer Rouge carried out a calculated genocide against its own people. Even the refugees who escaped over the Thai border were only "repatriated" to their homeland to have their throats summarily cut, dying the Mekong red, to be shot in the back of the head in front of their spouse and children, only for these witnesses to later lay beside them, totally still, their anatomy draining on the forest floor under the choral chirp of insects for a final eulogic dirge.
This is AMO''Sh, writing with deep sadness and anger, Siam Reap, Cambodia, post-Havdalah, April 2o11