My experience of Cambodia closely mirrors the simple article referenced above. In and around Phnom Penh, where we do our work, there continues to be abject poverty. There are children and families living on the street, in the alleyways. Walking through the streets in the morning you can see for yourself the significant homelessness, poverty, struggles to survive.
At the same time, there are hopeful signs, nighttime marketplaces teem with families and children playing, buying toys, enjoying food/music/festivals/dancing. There are restaurants and business opening frequently, schools and functioning hospitals. We meet many people employed in the clothing industry, we support children that are in law school, nursing, art school.
All this being said - the announcement today brings to me a particular melancholy. This is a beautiful country, with peaceful, lovely people. Here we are ....so many years later...and the devastating loss of life, culture and community due to these Khmer Rouge leaders continues to define the country today. And though we see opportunity and success stories regularly - at the same time we see an enormous need.
The conviction of these leaders represents an incredibly long awaited justice - and yet at the same time these lives lost cannot be recovered and the moment is still bitter. The images from S-21 haunt me still, and I cannot even think of how children suffered and died. It breaks my heart today.
And, it makes me realize, once again - that healing comes from many sources. And that we can, eventually, recover from heartbreak, through the little bit we do to bring hope and life today.