Global Glimpses: Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Spring 2005. Cambodia. My first trip to Asia. Pictured here is a pack of boys in the Killing Fields, a half an hour’s ride south of Phnom Penh. Choeung Ek Memorial was built around the mass graves of victims of the Khmer Rouge regime, which executed over one million people in the 1970s.

These smiling boys kept on following me around as I solemnly walked among bones, bits of clothing and teeth of the victims, many still scattered around the site. They were making funny faces, arguing with one another, simulating one of Khmer Rouge’ infamous execution techniques – cutting each other’s throats on the spikes of a palm tree leaf – and all along, laughing. It was difficult not to laugh with them, even in this least comical of places.

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