KAMBODŽA – CAMBODIA

Lokalna skola-A local school

Lokalna skola-A local school

Mladi monasi-Young monks

Mladi monasi-Young monks

Narodni muzej u Pnom Penu-National Museum in Phnom Penh

Narodni muzej u Pnom Penu-National Museum in Phnom Penh

Najveci kompleks hramova Ankor Vat-The greatest temple complex Angkor Wat (4)

Najveci kompleks hramova Ankor Vat-The greatest temple complex Angkor Wat (4)

Polja smrti-The Killing Fields

Polja smrti-The Killing Fields

Voznja po jezeru Tonle Sap-A ride along Tonle Sap Lake

Voznja po jezeru Tonle Sap-A ride along Tonle Sap Lake

Hram Ta Prom-Ta Prohm Temple

Hram Ta Prom-Ta Prohm Temple

Kraljevska palata u Pnom Penu-Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

Kraljevska palata u Pnom Penu-Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

Hram u zalasku sunca-The temple at sunset

Hram u zalasku sunca-The temple at sunset

Angkor Thom City

Angkor Thom City

Cekajuci turiste-Waiting for tourists

Cekajuci turiste-Waiting for tourists

Hram Bajon-Bayon Temple

Hram Bajon-Bayon Temple

Kraljevska palata u Pnom Penu-Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

Kraljevska palata u Pnom Penu-Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

Lobanje ubijenih na Poljima smrti-The skulls of those killed in the Killing Fields

Lobanje ubijenih na Poljima smrti-The skulls of those killed in the Killing Fields

Mala ceremonija u hramu-Small ceremony in a temple

Mala ceremonija u hramu-Small ceremony in a temple

Prodavacice suvenira-Souvenir vendors

Prodavacice suvenira-Souvenir vendors

Seoska idila-Countryside idyll

Seoska idila-Countryside idyll

Suveniri od trske-Reed souvenirs

Suveniri od trske-Reed souvenirs

U koridorima hrama Ankor Vat-In the corridors of the Angkor Wat Temple

U koridorima hrama Ankor Vat-In the corridors of the Angkor Wat Temple

Glavna uluca u Pnom Penu-Main street in Phnom Penh

Glavna uluca u Pnom Penu-Main street in Phnom Penh

Magično kraljevstvo Kmera smestilo se u džunglama jugoistočne Azije, između Tajlanda i Vijetnama, krijući u njima hramove iz svoje najdavnije prošlosti, u kojoj su se smenjivali budistički i hindu kraljevi. Nastala između VII i XVII veka, tokom poslednjih stoleća ova remek-dela arhitekture iz tog vremena bila su potpuno zapostavljena i prekrivena gustim rastinjem, mada ne i zaboravljena. Ti hramovi bili su važni religiozni centri svog vremena, a najveći i najvažniji od njih Angkor Wat, posvećen indijskom božanstvu Višnu, najveća je sakralna građevina na svetu i prostire se na više od dvesta hektara. Jedan od najlepših prizora je odraz tog hrama u vodi koja ga okružuje, i to u suton ili pri izlasku sunca, kada se hiljade posetilaca okupljaju da bi videli taj nezaboravni prizor. Hram Ta Prohm iz XII veka deluje misteriozno i dramatično, sa ogromnim stablima koja ga obuvataju i vekovima drže u zagrljaju, u neraskidivoj simbiozi drevne civilizacije s prirodom. Danima se može lutati između brojnih hramova koji su ponos naroda Kmera, i biciklom, zapregom ili iz balona uživati u najlepšim drevnim tvorevinama ovog naroda jugoistočne Azije.

Jedan sramotni i tužni period iz života Kmera obeležila je surova komunistička vladavina, takozvanih Crvenih Kmera (Khmer Rouge), sedamdesetih godina prošlog veka. Za to vreme ne samo da su zapostavljene sve kulturne vrednosti ovog naroda, već i stanovništvo brutalno isterano iz gradova, a pobijeno je oko dva miliona ljudi. Polja smrti je naziv kompleksa pored glavnog grada, u kome otvorene kosturnice stoje kao nemo svedočanstvo neviđene brutalnosti koju je na sopstvenom narodu primenio režim Pola Pota. Svedoci i učesnici tih zlodela, od koji se nekima danas sudi, i sami ne veruju da je nešto tako bilo mogućno. Ja sam još u nedoumici i postavljam sebi pitanje: kako se to moglo dogoditi u srcu budizma, religije u kojoj se smatra zločinom ubijanje bilo kojeg živog bića.

Simbol ovog naroda i večiti princ Norodom Sihanuk, koji je ipak doživeo da postane kralj, uvek je bio šarmantni borac za slobodu i prava svog naroda, pa i iz izgnanstva koje je dugo trajalo. Imao sam nekada kasetu koju je lično snimio sa interpretacijama tužnih francuskih šansona, kao setno podsećanje na srećne dane francuske Indokine. Kasetu je delio tokom diplomatskih poseta nesvrstanim zemljama.

Brzom plovidbom broda pretrpanog turistima površinom ogromnog jezera Tonle Sap stigli smo u glavni grad Pnom Pen. Atmosfera nekadašnje francuske Indokine ponovo je zavladala ulicama grada i kafeima, u kojima stranci, verovatno, pokušavaju da osete isto što i ja – nekadašnji kolonijalni duh. On je tu svuda prisutan, posebno na terasi čuvenog Kluba stranih dopisnika, odakle se pruža pogled na uzavrelu glavnu ulicu, isto kao u filmu Polja smrti. U filmu su novinari s nevericom izveštavali o događajima u Kambodži, dok konačno nije sve utihnulo, dok grad nije potpuno opusteo, a skoro svi učeni ljudi proterani na pirinčana polja bez mogućnosti povratka. Zlatne pagode kraljevske palate sada blistaju novim sjajem, ali gorak ukus miliona uništenih života ostaje i dalje u dušama ovog naroda koji se, verovatno zahvaljujući svojoj snazi, uspešno oporavlja od mučnih tragova prošlosti. Ostaje i ona moja stalna nedoumica kako je to bilo mogućno u religiji koja se uvek protivila ubijanju.

Ideologija zla ovde je ipak imala prednost.

Januar 2007.

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The magical kingdom of Khmers is located in the jungles of South East Asia, between Thailand and Vietnam, hiding the temples from the ancient past when Buddhist and Hindu kings took turn. The architectural masterpieces from the period between 7th and 15th century were left to neglect during the last couple of centuries when they got covered in thick vegetation, but they have not been forgotten. These temples used to be important religious centres at the time and the biggest and the most important one, Angkor Wat, devoted to the Indian god Vishnu, is the largest place of worship in the world, occupying more than 200 hectares of land. One of the most magnificent scenes is the reflection of this temple in the water that surrounds it, at sunrise or sunset, when thousands of visitors gather to enjoy this unforgettable sight. Ta Prohm temple from the 12th century looks dramatic and mysterious, with huge trees that hold it in a centurial embrace, in an unbreakable union of ancient civilisation and nature. For days you can wander around numerous temples that are the pride of the Khmer people, either on a bike, horse carriage or in a hot air balloon, you can enjoy the splendid ancient creations of this South East Asian nation.

A shameful and sad period in the Khmer history was marked by a cruel communist rule of the so-called Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. During this time, not only was the national cultural heritage neglected, but citizens were driven out of the cities and around 2 million people were killed. The Killing Fields are sites near the capital where open air charnel houses stand as a mute witness to the incredible brutality that Pol Pot’s regime carried out against its own people. Witnesses as well as the perpetrators of these crimes, some of whom are still on trial today, cannot believe themselves that something like that was possible. I am still in disbelief and ask myself the following question –’How could this happen in a country that is at the centre of Buddhist faith, a faith that considers a crime the killing of any living being?’

Norodom Sihanouk, the symbol of the nation and its eternal prince who lived to become the king, was always a charming freedom fighter for his people’s rights, even during his long exile. I used to have a tape that he recorded himself, a rendition of sad French ballads, as a melancholic reminder of the happy days of the French Indochina. He was giving away this audiotape during his official visits to non-aligned countries.

A boat full of tourists quickly takes us across the vast Tonle Sap Lake to the capital Phnom Penh. The atmosphere of the long gone French Indochina has made a comeback in the streets and cafes where foreigners are wanting to experience, most likely, the same thing as me – the colonial spirit of the past. The spirit is omnipresent, especially vivid on the terrace of the famed Foreign Correspondents’ Club, from where you can enjoy the view of the hectic high street, just like in the movie The Killing Fields. In this film the journalists reported in disbelief about the events in Cambodia, until a silence descended on all, the city grew totally deserted and intellectuals were all banished to the rice fields, with no chance of going back. The golden pagodas of the Royal Palace glimmer with renewed splendour, but a bitter taste of millions of lives lost remains in the soul of this people, who, thanks to their own strength, seem to be recovering from the tragic past. And my perpetual dilemma remains – how was this possible despite the religion which has always condemned any killing.

An evil ideology seems to have prevailed at the time.

January 2007

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