The Spirit of Christmas
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.
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