To what extent should Cambodia's past inform plans for travel in the present, which is to say: How ought one to balance the sanguinary with the sanguine? How does one witness, fairly, a horrific genocide in which an estimated 1.7 million people died?
April 17th, 2015 marks 40 years since the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh and unleashed a wrath of vengeance against its own people. The genocide war in Cambodia left almost 2 million people dead from execution, starvation and disease.
One in every four Cambodians was murdered during the rule of the Khmer Rouge, between 1975 and 1979. The Missing Picture tells the story of the genocide through a child's perspective, using clay dolls to recreate the director's memories and interspersing these personal scenes with actual footage.
We are often asked why we spend the money to investigate potential Honorees at World of Children Award. Well, we are currently in Cambodia to visit two of our Honorees and were reminded why this remains such an important step in the Award process.
Despite a day filled with marches and demonstrations, Phnom Penh remained relatively calm. The only government reaction: quietly relocating a dozen protesters who had camped outside the U.S. embassy. Fast forward a few weeks, and the demonstrations have taken a dramatic and deadly turn.
Having returned to Cambodia more than once in the post-Cold War era, my wife and I were surprisingly impressed by the extent to which this once battle-torn country was now coming to life, placing the memories of its past well behind it.
At a time of global crisis, when so many children are poor, so many parents hopeless, so many nations teetering on the brink of genocide, perhaps these reflections about my visit to Cambodia will bring a glimmer of hope from the Killing Fields.
Some 95 percent of Cambodia's people are Buddhist. "Nation, Religion, King" is Cambodia's national motto and it is one of the few world nations where Buddhism is the state religion. The religious world here, however, is not just about Buddhism.
Opened in 2010, Bloom Training Centre and Café is the brain-child of Ruth Larwill, a mother of two from Brisbane, Australia, who found she could use her passion for cake decorating to provide economic opportunity for vulnerable women in Cambodia.