Another example of the Khmer Rouge atrocities in Wat Somrong Knong, Read the text on the second picture.
Bernie spoke about how his family had been affected. His mother and Father were sent to the rice fields, as were so many Cambodians to work hard and “make a better life”. This of course wasn’t the reality and it soon became clear that life was not better, if anything was said against the regime you would pay with your life. “Agents” would mingle with the villagers, essentially listening for anything said that might be negative or inciteful, leaving the locals fearful of speaking out, after witnessing situations where people who did speak out would be removed never to return. Bernie spoke how this had affected his mother to the extent she now struggles to speak of the past, and if she does, the memories are filed with tears. Bernie lost two siblings in this period, it’s still extremely raw. It was decided that this shrine be built to reminder and not something to be, shall we say, brushed under the carpet. Ive included some pictures of Carving from the shrine depicting the horrific events during this time.
And what now for Cambodia?. Well there is a strong opposition party in place, the national elections took place last year, although they protested strongly that the result was falsified, they did however manage to gain seats in their parliament, with an ambition to be a strong voice and make a difference for the future of Cambodia. The next election in four years time will be interesting, any “rigging” then I expect will be met in a very different way as the country grows in confidence and having a voice. Overall if feels very positive for Cambodia, they’ve been to hell and back, still there are questions about borders, between them selves and Vietnam and so on, as indeed there always are, but they now want to stand on their own feet, and run their county themselves.
I hope they succeed, I’ve been quite touched by the people, they deserve a future of Stability and independence.