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Viewpoint from Pastor Michael Walker for 28th March 2014 


Pastor Michael I. Walker

Seventh-day Adventist Minister for

Great Yarmouth & Lowestoft (retired) 


After The Killing Fields

My wife and I have just returned from Cambodia where our daughter is working.  We witnessed some of the work she’s engaged in alongside other missionaries.
We found the Cambodians very friendly people.  Their way of life is vastly different from ours.   Conditions out there leave much to be desired. They are seeking to mend tpastor for webheir lives after what can only be described as one of the most traumatic experiences in human history.  In April 1975 a savage killing machine known as the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot drove families away from their homes into the rice fields.  They were stripped of their possessions and dignity and forced to endure backbreaking labour amidst unspeakable horrors.  We visited the infamous Toul Sleng Prison (known as S-21) in Phnom Penh that housed some 12,000 prisoners composed of men, women and children, where they were shackled and brutally tortured.  The rules forbade smiling, talking to other prisoners, or even crying out when lashed or receiving electric shocks.  Prisoners groaning in their cell after torture would receive 150 lashes!  At night prisoners would be trucked out to the killing fields, brutally slaughtered and buried in mass graves.  At least 1.7 million people died between 1975 and 1979.  
By genocide the Kmer Rouge intended to destroy all the intelligentsia.  The nation was reduced to uneducated, destitute peasantry.  Ten years following the overthrow of the Kmer Rouge by the Vietco
Dove right
ng, they were left without any leader; they struggled to survive the best way they could.  The story is unbelievable but true!
Travelling through Cambodia, we witnessed how people lived.  We appreciated far more what our daughter had previously told us.  Many are homeless.  Many children live on the streets because their parents are too poor to feed them!  Conditions are so primitive in the country areas.  During the rainy season, vast areas are under water; so their flimsy, wooden houses are built on stilts.  Yet, in spite of all this, they make the best of their situation.
By comparison here in the West, we have the luxuries that most of these people have never known.  We have a welfare system.  The unemployed have benefits.  We have comforts.  Our children have lovely toys whereas the children of Cambodia play in the dirt.  We have pensions but they know nothing of retirement!  On our flight home, we contemplated the blessings we have that are so much taken for granted.  Those prone to complain about the austerity measures affecting their lifestyle, ought to change places with the poor of Cambodia!