World Sign
Vol. 84: Faces Speaking Out
Faces Speaking Out

During the civil war in Cambodia, Pol Pot was dictator for three years and one month, from April 1975 to January 1979. During that time 1.7 million people were massacred under the name of socialist revolution. The massacre started with people who were members of the previous government, their families and intellectuals. Toward the end, it expanded to the people at the lowest level of society who were involved in the massacre in order to maintain secrecy. Even traditional dancers were included.

We visited the Sohrusuren penitentiary in Phnom Penh. Vacant eyes, hateful eyes, wistful eyes and many other types of eyes were looking at us. Faces, faces, and more faces. Panels filled with photos of young men’s faces were displayed in one room and those of innocent young girls were displayed in another room. People were questioned and tortured in those rooms and were taken somewhere to be killed. The expression on those faces looked like they wanted to speak of something and looking at those faces made us shiver.

Why was it possible for a human being to conduct such a cruel act? Why was it necessary to conduct such a cruel act? It was repeated in Auschwitz and Rwanda. It was repeated in Iraq. Sad and horrifying characteristics of the human being were found here.

(translated by Satoko Matsuoka)

2005 Copyright (c) All Japan Neon-Sign Association