I have so much to write but don’t know where to start. I have so much emotions turning and roaring but don’t know how to calm it down. Jesus, please come and calm the storm, as I would want to put all what I have read and felt and heard from words of others into Words of Yours and ultimately actions of mine.
As the Ratanak vision team updated us daily on what they saw, the way they described how the air smells like engulps my lungs like never before. First, I have never been there, but how come my heart so yearns to be there, then my fear immediately wipes the yearning away? Second, why God places in my heart a place of terror and evil from which I tried very hard to sanitize myself? My fear immediately shrinks and vanishes into a mist of vapor. Compared to the fear the Cambodian people once faced 30 years ago during the Khmer Rouge genocide. My fear is utterly a joke!
I also started reading this book called, “The Stones Cry Out” written by Da, a 12 year old Cambodian girl who witnessed her family being butchered and starved to death in the killing fields. I am on pg. 20 and as Paul suggested, I shall pray before I read, and pray thereafter as I read along till the end. I don’t want to start the book yet I understand in order to understand Cambodia, I have to boldly enter into their years of history first including but not limited to the Khmer Rouge. As the Ratanak vision team updated us daily on what they saw, the following paragraphs provide me a very vivid picture. One day, probably one day, I would be standing on that very ground, feeling my blood raging and roaring, breathing in the bleak silence of death bouncing off the walls inside Toul Sleng genocide museum, feeling my feet standing on a ground. A ground was once blood soaked by millions of lives whose articles of small bones, buttons, teeth, debris, or even smell of decay, are still oozing up out of it after 30 years.
“Toul Sleng (former Office S-21) originally was built and used as a school, then was taken over during the revolution and became the most notorious high security and torture centre. An estimated 22,000 people were taken here to answer to fictitious charges before being either tortured to death or taken to the killing fields. Wall after wall of images of men, women and children stare back at you with empty eyes – all dignity and self worth removed.” — I have read this brief description of S-21 for hundreds of times. I have never been there, but I know any number of readings will never be able to prepare me for what awaits and nothing can ever prepare me for entering into a place of horror, brutality and injustice all mingled together to devour men, women, children. That is my fear – again my fear, compared to theirs, is still a joke!
As I read on, “Comrade Duch, the prison commandant, is presently on trial for these atrocities. He personally sanctioned the torture and execution of each of these 22,000 individuals. Individuals who are no longer a faceless, nameless mass. Duch was converted to Christianity before his arrest and was actively engaged in ministry at the time of his detention.” I have read the news about the trials, watched Duch’s face on TV and on newspaper. He looks like everyone’s loving grandfather, yet he once was the chief of command ordered and supervisied, signed the lives of 22,000 men, women and children away to one of the 300 killing fields location which is a place where the majority of S-21’s prisoners were ritually executed and thrown into pits – pits which have since been excavated. Today Duch is a follower of Jesus, He admits to what he did and acknowledges that Jesus is now his Lord. Many unanswerable questions, many and many of them!
I have dreamt dreams that as I walked towards that museum, I will first see hundreds of photos of detainees of these 22,000 prisoners. I have seen some of them when I did my research on Toul Sleng. Their eyes, 22,000 pairs of eyes. Eyes of fear, anger, pride, hurt, and pain; but most of all it is eyes of surrender. Many were children and youth – all innocent of the bizarre charges attributed to them. Down the hall, there will be another gallery of photos of people being tortured, then down some more a display of the actual instruments of this evil torture.
As I enter into Da’s terror of evil in her book, “The Stones Cry Out”, I pray to you Father God to give me strength to finish the book, to give me bravery to understand the history of Khmer Rouge, to give me Your Words as I read along. Your Words in Psalm 10 ring loud and clear and I am confident that one day man, who is of the earth, will terrify no more.