On October 27, 2007 appears on my computer screen the photo of a little girl described as an Unidentified Prisoner in Tuol Sleng, the notorious prison of the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. What crime could this girl who is barely out of childhood have committed to be among the multitude who is going to be massacred? Her look is neutral, she betrays no emotions, she does not accuse. Only WE know she is going to DIE, presumably bludgeoned to death by an executioner! Was she tortured before the hammer blow to her head? Like other prisoners, did she have to sign a confession?
How could a society which has been Buddhist for centuries, and presumably compassionate, accept the massacre or the starvation of one fourth of its population, a terrible auto-genocide?
The little girl’s face accompanied me throughout my three years journey within 12 countries which are predominantly Buddhist.
Size: 225mm x 280mm
Publisher: Editions de La Martinière, Paris, April 14, 2011