|green fields grow
||[Sep. 19th, 2006|01:13 pm]
I. For the guards the ultimate point was approached obliquely. |
Never so for the victim. They were blindfolded and knew they would blind on thereafter. What was a simple strip of cloth for the guards was the sudden loss of direction, the sudden ascendancy of dank smells and the baser qualifications for life. Lying down all day alone, and gaining nuances where pain had once seemed a square object one could fumble around with still distinct fingers. But now it became them.
But for those under Duch, it was the momentary visit to a cell, the rattle of the leg bars, the yelling of some phrase with pro-wrestling like blinders on, internal consistency. For not being blindfolded, it was the guards with the tunnel vision and the beaten whose vision expanded into infinite new shades of blackness, to diminishing returns where one must wait.
Each day was built on its itemized tasks.
Each body part and each drubbing,
an item to be matched
to a directive to be matched
to a reason to be matched
to a dream
that was commonly shared,
but that the traitors
who now refused to take nobly
their starvation and self-shitting,
forgot with only the first blow of the truncheon.
So, with a team, each of course a little more committed than you are, the manipulating of body parts like symbols, keys on a block print typewriter.
A name entered.
The Angkor does not arrest
any but enemies.
To keep you is no benefit,
to destroy you no loss.
People need not be involved almost. Like an execution’s dry run. A rehearsal for the future when we will all be dead to each other and yet still moving about, saying things like passwords, open portals from the metaphysical to the purely physical, eliciting a chosen brutality, that was previously elicited and so on.
II. In these vacuums which nature abhors, paranoia, and unpredictably are everyone’s propaganda, for all are on the gunner’s side when the inmates are running the asylum and the only thing keeping you from being an inmate is your willingness to make others so.
There was a disgusting purity to the early war crimes of this century. A mission statement, a goal. But those were shown failing, and pathetic. And what remained in little cinders was the fervor.
Murder becomes the only grand narrative. Kill enough and meaning will arise, and you will rise on the back of the meanings, and they will do your bidding.
All but the killing was kept from the world. Only it recorded. Reasons left only cryptic, like borrowed hieroglyphics. Words like class, enemy. Words that excused the high and mighty, so would them as well.
They were liberated from the condescension but not the excesses and bureaucracy of the French. Imagine robispierre before the tribunal. Imagine his weighty impassions to the vitalizing power of blood. Imagine forcing him to leave the madness and return to his former self, to return to the masses which make decisions from a position that does not foresee ever being raised and degraded to the level of a tyrant.
So the Paris students, Khieu Samphan and Hou Yuon and Pol Pot and Ieng Sary studied and saw the futility of intellect. And inside the void dug hard so all could be soft, and remixed by Marx and Camus they saw something that could be filled by blood. And didn’t know that beseiged Paris was too tired just then to be taken seriously. Delirious from near conquest, delirious from the failure of words to do anything but negotiably record what had happened, what was still happening.
But in a world of little passion plays, something is terrible and beautiful about the world turning on the yoked back of peasants, where all are peasants. Somebody, though has to put the yoke there of course.
Who better than a law professor, Khieu Samphan, at Phnom Penh University, to understand that his humiliations were the people’s. that his redress was theirs. So when he was stripped naked, beaten and photographed as an enemy of state by the current vote winner where guns are votes, Sihanouk, who denounced the leftists he called the Khmer Rouge, (showing again how an insult becomes a title in victory) he had an idea of how others could attain the purity of thought he had attained then, near, in death.
And strange enemies make strange bedfellows and familiar bedfellows make familiar enemies, and so the prince backed a winner, and never really knew what to expect anyways, but to expect something. Some praise, some blame, all damning, in the way it’s all damning. How could the world care? They were a back eddy bomb site for the U.S. who was dirtying, as the century required, its own hands, and the french called one of their factions GRUNK. Just a comic book collection, with some valuable pieces, and some sad, sad turns. And once America suspended aid, people were willing and then less willing, and then forced, and then resigned to die for the privilege of saying “i told you so”.
And those who were, were fighting alongside to save a benign prince, not to save themselves in fire. But history records motivations only to guess them away.
And this time around the farmers would be the proletarian, and all the label meant in its theoretical punch and judy way, minus any need for economics. Fill your empty stomachs with only theory, and all theories are then starving you.
III. And they started by allowing nothing. No matter what was the wrong thing to do then, it was not being done. A new people. And how do you make people truly new? What hasn’t been done to them? What must be done to accomplish it?
So they were sent away to be protected from the bombings. Sent away from the impersonal dresdens, made easier if a friend shows you out. We must all be in the same mess, no exceptions. If you are a blight, you must disappear. So that eventually it is all smooth, and productive, a ball of humans, a fist. Not being allowed anything else, we will retreat into power by becoming a mass.
Three tons of rice a hectare or else we will feed yourself to yourself. There is no such thing as family. only Workers (isn't this true). Once they see, they’ll see how much easier the job is then. Engineer learn how to farm, teacher learn to farm. Farmer learn to farm. Learn hunger to learn.
And so things went on outside of S-21 bleakly. Lucky enough to avoid the random attention of those trying to win favor and, maybe for a while, feeling some personal stake in this killing or that. Starving though. In prison the treatment was not instant death of being taken right there for stealing a potato and clubbed to death. There had to be something more horrible waiting, to really inspire awe. Something hidden and so not readily available to the starving who were weighing the risks.
IV. But inside, again the guards and the victims. 12-13, 22-23 year old male guards. Old, child, woman, friend enemies. Shows the depravity of the enemy, is all. We know we ask much trust of you, but yours is the future. And as each day passed, just a bit more asked. No more farming, now gate duty, now what would you do without such a schedule? And so a doctor comes in and uses ointment on a back that’s spitting blood, so it can be flayed again. Not his department.
And for days some prisoner who is found useful enough to stay alive, taken out of the death sentence commuted briefly to pain in S-21, looks at the guards and sees they joke and smile like him,
But still something cannot be right here. Something. The man lies there all day, half paralyzed and blind,
Looking for something. People will write books on it, and vow never again,
But something more has to be said. He can’t speak out loud now,
When he’s closest to it. Can he blame them? He has to.
if we don’t keep in mind some too bright next day, after the hunger when the food sits uncomfortably in a shrunken stomach, if we don’t keep somewhere in our minds that day when our enemies become our victims, how can there be anything but horror. No forgiveness but grass, growing slowly, and forgetting its growth in blood.
And the truck pulls up to Choeung Ek at night in a demons hour, or day at lunch, and they’re unloaded and told they’re going home, and the guards aren’t snickering, but parking meter reader serious,
And they’re lined up in front of a ditch and clubbed then throat slashed. And some guards who had previously only driven are asked to help. And as the symbols empty and are just bodies. And as the guards feel for a moment empty of the task that had filled them with each new one dispatched - at that moment in the fields, two bodies in grass, is the closest the guards and the victims will ever be, the last thing common enough to be shared. Forgiveness then feels like a lie.
And those who rebuild after this all, what can they hope for? Hope that forevermore we are all indoctrinated in how dumb the difference between that ditch and that club is, was? Hope that somehow the human heart inculcates itself from putting on that uniform for one more day? That all those so inclined would die out? How can this be? They are the survivors. The others are dead.