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memorials? Most importantly, how do we gain an awareness of our own

capacity for both good and bad as we seek humanely to remember the past?

While there are no easy answers to such questions, we must ask them of

ourselves and others.

After visiting the Killing Fields Memorial, I spent the rest of the

afternoon wandering somewhat aimlessly through the streets of Phnom Penh,

contemplating the awful scenes I had witnessed. By the end of the day, I

was hot, exhausted, and emotionally drained. Fortunately I found a

wonderful ice cream parlor overlooking the beautiful confluence of the

Tonlé Sap and Mekong Rivers. As I ate my sundae and reflected on my day, I

came to a banal yet provocative conclusion: the world needs fewer war

memorial and more ice cream parlors. Until then, I will keep visiting these

memorials, asking tough questions that defy simplistic answers.

David Kenley | August 9, 2017


This is written by Moses Schulstein and the shoes were from prisoners in

Poland’s Majdanek Concentration Camp. See Jenny Edkins, Trauma and the

Memory of Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 152.


Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War

(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016), 253.

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