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> Any other worn hollywood cliches happen to you while you were vacationing there?

I'll reply one last time, not for your benefit, but maybe for someone else reading.

I'm typically pretty unfazed by things, but I've never been more horrified than what I saw at Security Center 21. There's books full of laminated photos of people taken before they were executed. And this is in the room these people were executed.

There's stains on the floor and walls. It used to be an elementary school before they converted it to a prison, torture, and interrogation center. There's beds with shackles attached to them, and some of the classrooms have been converted with makeshift jail cells the size of a pen for small animals.

There's pictures of people being whipped and electrocuted. At the risk of another Hollywood cliche, you can feel the death in the air. The misery. They'd hang people by their feet and dunk them in water mixed with feces and hold them under until they passed out. They'd take them out of the water, resuscitate them, instruct them to confess, and repeat. After a while, they'd execute the people.

You hear about horrible things happening, but it never felt so real until I saw it. 6,000,000 people before the Khmer Rogue led their revolution and Cambodia became People's Democratic Kampuchea. 2,000,000 people were killed, usually with shovels or sharp sticks in order to save the cost of bullets. All the capitalists, all the business owners, everyone who spoke a foreign language, everyone who had any ties with the French, British, or Americans. They thought those people were "exploiters" and that punishing them would heal society. They thought resources just appeared easily and anyone who had more than anyone else must have stolen and done horrible things to get them. They felt comfortable killing all of those people.

There was a Khmer Empire once upon a time, it was the most powerful in Southeast Asia. They had roads, law, commerce, built amazing buildings, had crafts, and lived well for the standard of the era. It'll never rise again after the Khmer Rouge. Half the buildings in Cambodia are thatched hay or one piece of corrugated steel. It's the most backwards place I've ever seen.

Progress comes slow. There's a path to getting out of poverty. It's gradual. Trying to speed that process up with violence and social control has led to so much misery and horrible things. Look, I'm all for making light and joking about otherwise serious situations, but not too many jokes can be said about this one.

It's horrible and senseless. A charismatic leader comes along and promises an easy solution to problems that have never been easily solved. But it never works out the way they promise. If you've never seen the very real artifacts of collective violence in real life, maybe it's just gobbleygook on the internet to you. But after I saw it, I don't know, I feel like everyone needs to know about this. How utterly stupid would it be to go down that road again?

You are completely missing the point. Let me help you:

I might take this a little more seriously than most people since seeing the Hiroshima bombing museum in Japan shook me to the core. Capitalism of any stripe - whether under a banner of liberalism, democracy, whatever - produces really fucking evil results. Marx was a decent German Philosopher in some ways, did a poor job in others, but that's besides the point. Playing down or ignoring or marginalizing the utter fucking atrocities that happened under Reaganism, Thatcherism, the McCarthy Era, Winston Churchill, etc, etc - nothing else even comes close. Some people like to play a really backwards moral relativism card here - no, nothing else comes close. I've walked through the jails where they tortured people. Tons of real photos, the CIA documented the hell out of it. I saw where they incinerated hundreds of thousands of children of the "Japs" as an inexpensive execution technique to end the war. These aren't Lenin zombie facts. This is reality. When people stop being individuals and give themselves over to a collective democracy, all hell and madness breaks loose. If we forget this, we'll suffer for it.


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