It would be neglectful to do a series on our common humanity without examining man’s inhumanity to man. Genocide is a repulsive subject to the average person who wants to live in peace and provide for their loved ones. However, mass killings don’t take place in a vacuum. They are carefully plotted using the “Hegelian Dialectic,” the destabilization of society, the removal of freedoms and the use of fear. In addition, they are allowed to take a foothold because good people remain in denial and do nothing while thinking, “that could never happen here.” This is a preconditioned reaction and a product of national exceptionalism. The fact is that genocide can happen anywhere if you turn a blind eye to its symptoms.
From 1975 to 1979 Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime waged war against their own people in Cambodia, causing the deaths of an estimated 1.7 to 2.5 million people (Wikipedia, “Killing Fields”).
I took this photo at the infamous Khmer prison of Tuol Sleng in Phnom Penh. Today this former high school and prison is a genocide museum and a reminder of the horrors that were once committed here.
On display in this museum are the photos of prisoners who were interrogated, tortured, and murdered. The pain and fear are still very real to the people who survived the Pol Pot times. In fact, my guide talked in hushed tones when he recounted this history.
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