As I type this entry I’m listening again to a recent episode of CBC radio’s The Current podcast. It is a profoundly sad and important interview with a Cambodian man (now living in Canada) who survived 4 years in the killing fields during the Khmer Rouge regime. There are in fact, no words to make someone understand or express why this needs to be heard, simply put – it must be heard.
Among the most gut-wrenching and ponderous points of the interview, the day he is told by other prisoners that his brother was executed. Or during all the horror, his falling in love with a girl being kept in another part of the camp, who he must never look at or else the guards might suspect it and kill them both. Instead they try never to look at each other, and communicate by writing notes, putting them in balls of mud and throwing them to each other. Of course destroying them immediately after. Amazingly they both survived but never saw each other again.
Lastly for all those questions about anger, revenge, justice; all these notions that people think should be handled in one way or another, the man talks about the day, last year, when he met one of his captors. When asked, what did you feel, what did you want to do? He responded simply: It was painful. Difficult. But I forgive him. Revenge turns into a cycle that never stops. In order to stop that cycle, the man feels sorry for what he did, I forgive.
Of course there’s much more to it. Listen for yourself. (scroll down to part 2)