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Friday, June 12, 2009


by Ann Malaspina

Kang Kek Iew (Comrade Duch) at the age of about 17Comrade Duch at age 17. Image via Wikipedia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Khmer Rouge guards killed babies by battering them against trees under an official policy to ensure the children of the brutal Cambodian regime's victims could never take revenge for their parents' deaths, the group's chief jailer testified Monday. Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch (pronounced Doik), said he was to blame for the brutal killing of infants as the commander of the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh during the 1970s. - Associated Press Writer Sopheng Cheang, June 8, 2009

You thought what is gone
can’t come back for revenge
and you were right,
but haunting is still possible.
Deep in the night
they appear like new bamboo
shooting up from black soil
in the swamp --
so pale, you see each vein
and muscle, brave bones
and beating hearts.
So strong, they will
grow high as the sun
and not bow to wind
or drought. Their voices
rise up, a soaring chorus
impossible not to hear.
They'll never leave you;
and still you speak
of them by day
as if you have no shame.

Ann Malaspina is a former newspaper reporter and children's book author living in Northern New Jersey.
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