Day 77: Lessons for all


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Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap
January 21st 2019
Published: February 3rd 2019
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Cambodis has become known for a period in their history when the Khmer Rouge ran the country. During this 3 year 8 month and 20 some odd days, one fifth to 1 fourth of their population was killed and many others fled the country. The goal of this period was to create a super communist nation as quickly as possible surpassing China, Vietnam and the Soviet Union. In order to do this, the leaders to extreme measures evacuating all large cities and forcing people back into the country side to farm and work on national projects, they eliminated national currency (literally blew up banks in the city) and outlawed trade between citizens, made all property (with the exception of a bowl and spoon) government issued or government property, split families apart and forced arranged marriages, and finally killed anyone who was educated, had wealth, supported/worked in the previous government, or represented western ideals. They have created a memorial in Siem Reap to those who were executed in a nearby village. Here is what you need to know (this will be longer than 400 words so bear with me it is important):

”This exhibitation on forced transfer gives us an opportunity to reflect on certain aspects of this cultural and human genocide. Reflection on the past is a crucial task for all post-conflict countries because a country that cannot face the problems of its past will not have the fortitude or courage to face the problems of its present and future.

Many of the problems we see today are the consequences of our Nation’s history, and we must not shrink in our responsibility to investigate and preserve this history for the education of our society and the next generation. But history is more than studying past problems for present day solution. When studying history, we must remember that each detail and circumstance is a representation of an individual human being’s experience. This perspective not only carries implications for the individual person, but also society at-large. The people who suffered under the cruel, ruthless grip of the Khmer Rouge deserve to be remembered and honored. By studying individual stories, we recognize the value of the individual human being, which is a fundament ingredient to all human rights.

Through stories, we understand the beauty and diversity of the human spirit which shines through the most incredible hardships and the most depraved evils. A diverse society is a healthy society, which values open mindedness, innovation and freedom. These are difficult qualities to obtain for all societies, which is why cultural diversity is so crucial to a post-conflict society’s development. Cultural diversity is a fragile characteristic that can be easily eroded by a society’s ignorance of its past. Indeed cultures can be eradicated just as easily during peacetime as wartime. While looting and the illegal sale of cultural antiquities are more flagrant examples of cultural destruction mass ignorance and indifference can be more pernicious.

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