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Pol Pot’s grave

Pol Pot’s grave

Pol Pot’s grave

Resting place of a monster

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There is no greater testament to the growing attraction of this part of the world than the fact that it is now worth someone’s time to hang out and charge visitors $2 to visit the site of Pol Pot’s cremation. It’s a strange spot, remarkable mainly for how thoroughly unremarkable the site actually is. Though this does beg the question, exactly how do you mark the final resting place of a monster?

Travelfish says:
Just in case you were wondering. Photo by: Nicky Sullivan.
Just in case you were wondering. Photo: Nicky Sullivan

Even more bizarrely, to some, is the clear evidence that people still come to this site to pay their respects, with incense and a donation box. Apparently people come to pray for luck with money. And there are also those who still hanker for the days when the Khmer Rouge was in charge, and took care of basic necessities for the people, such as health care. There are still many who believe that the man they called Brother Number 1 did no wrong, and that the Vietnamese were to blame for everything (often the standard response to any suggestion that there might be something wrong in Cambodia).

But some background on how Pol Pot came to die in this strange corner of the world. Following their defeat in 1979, the Khmer Rouge retreated to the borders with Thailand, pushed back by the Vietnamese who were to remain in the country until 1989. In the 1990s, the newly elected Cambodian government continued to fight and to reach out to the Khmer Rouge all at the same time.

In 1993, UN-backed elections led to the creation of a government led by two political parties wedded by an uncomfortable power-sharing arrangement fostered by a United Nations that had given in to the demands of Hun Sen, head of the Cambodian People’s Party, for a place at the governing table, despite having lost the election to the royalist ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,000 words.)

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Reviewed by

Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.

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