Yesterday, while a lot of us where consumed with the Wikileaks leaks, a U.N. tribunal handed down its first sentence in a trial regarding the “chief jailer” for the Khmer Rouge. You may have read about it. I’ve been paying a bit of attention to all this, since I travel to Cambodia yearly to source Three Stone Steps silk, cotton, and mosquito netting bags. I work with a very talented producer there whose parents were victims at the time, and she bares certain scars. I’ve been on long car rides with people who lived during that time, and the stories just come pouring out. They are horrific monologues. People are still processing, and maybe always will be.
In the six years or so traveling to Cambodia, I’ve noted tons of changes. It’s totally possible to go out for tapas paired with a nice Rioja in Phnom Penh. I kept expecting to return and find a new crop of sushi restaurants and martini bars. And, among all those developed nation trappings, you don’t have to go far to see people in terrible poverty. And, while things seem sort of normal, save for the “child sex tourists not welcome” signs, you can forget that you’re in a place with a terrible not too distant past. Almost.