If you’ve been following along my blog or instagram account you would have seen a lot of smiling, adventurous and beach-themed photos.
Today tells a very different tale of my adventures.
I came to Cambodia knowing very little about the place, other than it is a usual stop for those wanderlusting around South East Asia. I knew very little of the history other than the country had seen war and terror in its not so distance past. I had an amazing tour guide at the Angkor temples who gave me a whitewashed version of the political history and socioeconomic picture.
Today, my eyes were completely opened to what this country has endured and to understanding the grief and frustration written all over that tour guide’s face when he spoke of war and the Khmer Rouge’s reign.
Whether you are travelling at 20 or 70, I think you would be doing a disservice to this country, and yourself, to not stop at or atleast educate yourself on The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21). In fact, I think it’s our duty as global citizens to learn about this stuff, to remember and honour those who have suffered and died. UNESCO has recognized both of these sites because they think it is important for all human kind to know about it so that it never happens again. I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more.
Today was nothing short of a terrifying, moving and emotional day.
I wept…a lot.
The suffering and mass genocide this country has seen, for the most part at the hands of their own countrymen rocked my core. I’m not going to go into detail about it as I feel it is our individual responsibility to learn about this. But, as I said, as this globe becomes smaller and travel becomes a common place, it is our duty as humans to educate ourselves appropriately and that means also looking at the darker sides of humanity to get a more complete picture. This is how we connect as people, mourn, pay respect and create change.
On the flip side of the sadness of today I also have immense gratitude for the fact that I am Canadian. For the life I’ve been given and the luxuries that I experience. Today my western-inspired problems, my want vs. need mentality, seem pretty frivolous and insignificant. Today I count my many, many blessings.
Today, it also became evident that we are all pretty similar. As humans we all crave dignity, compassion and a desire for peace. In our pursuit for more and better things, I think we all need to take a step back and see how we can inject more love into this world.