mercredi 30 avril 2008

Twenty-nine

I have read in my Lonely Planet that Cambodia has a very young population and that three-quarters of Cambodians are too young to remember the Khmer Rouge years.

Just a fact, apparently. But visit this country, and get stunned by the sight everybody looking so young: tuk-tuk drivers, bartenders, staff in hotels, soldiers, farmers, shopkeepers... and no Khmer is older than 29 in the school where I am working as a volunteer.

Twenty-nine... You have figured it out by yourself. This is exactly the number of years passed since the end of the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge, in 1979. A genocide from which just a few survived, on the good as on the bad side. And today children of the oppressed share the country with the children of the oppressor and there is a strong will to forget.

Nobody talk of it then. The current government itself does not require that educators teach children about Khmer Rouge atrocities in the schools.

But I couldn't not to notice it and fell a profound sadness for this people.

No religious rituals.
No religious symbols.
No fortune tellers.
No traditional healers.
No paying respect to the elders.
No social status. No titles.

No education. No training.
No school. No learning.
No books. No library.
No science. No technology.
No pens. No paper.

No currency. No bartering.
No buying. No selling.
No begging. No giving.
No purses. No wallets.

No human rights. No liberty.
No courts. No judges.
No laws. No attorneys.

No communications.
No public transportation.
No private transportation.
No travelling. No mailing.
No inviting. No visiting.
No faxes. No telephones.

No social gatherings.
No chitchatting.
No jokes. No laughter.
No music. No dancing.

No romance. No flirting.
No fornication. No dating.
No wet dreaming.
No masturbating.
No naked sleepers.
No bathers.
No nakedness in showers.
No love songs. No love letters.
No affection.

No marrying. No divorcing.
No martial conflicts. No fighting.
No profanity. No cursing.

No shoes. No sandals.
No toothbrushes. No razors.
No combs. No mirrors.
No lotion. No make up.
No long hair. No braids.
No jewelry.
No soap. No detergent. No shampoo.
No knitting. No embroidering.
No colored clothes, except black.
No styles. No palm sap hooch.
No lighters. No cigarettes.
No morning coffee. No afternoon tea.
No snacks. No desserts.
No breakfast [sometimes no dinner]

No mercy. No forgiveness.
No regret. No remorse.
No second chances. No excuses.
No complaints. No grievances.
No help. No favors.
No eyeglasses. No dental treatment.
No vaccines. No medicines.
No hospitals. No doctors.
No disabilities. No social diseases.
No tuberculosis. No leprosy.

No kites. No marbles. No rubber bands.
No cookies. No popsicle. No candy.
No playing. No toys.
No lullabies.
No rest. No vacation.
No holidays. No weekends.
No games. No sport.
No staying up late.
No newspapers.

No radio. No TV.
No drawing. No painting.
No pets. No pictures.
No electricity. No lamp oil.
No clocks. No watches.

No hope. No life.
A third of the people didn't survive.
The regime died.

Poem by Sarith Pou.

1 commentaire:

Alessandro a dit…

Ciao Carlo...quando puoi vedi il film "Urla nel Silenzio" che parla della presa al potere da parte dei Khmer...

Tristissima pagina della storia dell'umanità...