Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

When I told a friend of mine that we were coming to Cambodia for Christmas, he joked 'what better way to say Happy Birthday Jesus than to visit Angkor Wat'.

As it turns out, the highlight of Christmas Eve Day was a visit to the S-21 prison; a high school that was converted to a prison/torture compound during the Khmer Rouge regime. We followed that up on Christmas Day with a visit to the killing fields at Cheong Ek, where something like 20,000 of the S-21 prisoners were brought for execution and disposal.

Though the peasant-based agrarian communist movement lasted less than four years, the Khmer Rouge continued to be a lethal nuisance for 20 years after its fall. Wiping out intellectuals, women, children and enough men to bring a population of 8 million to be comprised of approximately 64 percent women. This country has been through a lot.

Being that I am not Christian, the original meaning of Christmas has little significance to me. I associate its true meaning as being more than a birthday; something related to a message of love and non-violence. In that regard, I think we found a fine way to recognize the occasion.

Merry Christmas from Cambodia.
Sent via BlackBerry from SingTel!


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