Monday, November 10, 2014

Promotor of Peace

At 12 years of age, Suon's parents were killed in front of his eyes. The soldiers who had done so recruited him as one of their own. He cried for three weeks until he was thoroughly brainwashed and numbed from the memory. He was then ready to fight.

A few years later he escaped the Cambodian army by serving with the Vietnamese. It was only when he discovered he was killing his own people that he cry again. The first time since his parent's death.

"And when I got out of the Vietnamese army I started working here," he explained.

"How did you get out of that?" I asked.

He rolled up his pant leg. A prosthetic leg leads all the way to his hip. "I stepped on a land mine."

His leg is the most important part of him.

"One day I woke up and my prosthetic leg was gone. I couldn't find it. I was in a panic. I cried and cried. My friends walked in and laughed, saying they hid it in the closet as a joke. I told them to never do that again. My leg is my life. Every night since then I've held onto it as I sleep."

He now tells his story at the Land Mine Museum in Siem Reap.

2.5 million mines are still hidden in Cambodia. About 12 people (primarily farmers) die every month from hidden bombs that have not yet been found.

Suon led us to a display of land mines, varying in shapes, complexity and material.

"And this one is the most dangerous of all," he said as he held up bomb in the shape of a wooden rectangular shaped box.

The wooden bombs killed thousands of children, in the early 2000's, who thought they were pencil boxes laying in the fields where they play.

"But I am not here to talk about war.  I spent my entire life growing up in the war.  I am very tired. We need peace in the world. That's what we must try to have. Peace." 

1 comment:

Patti said...

Sobering. We take so much for granted.