Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Water Festival Tragedy

I wish I had something profound to say. I wish I had some great insight to offer. I wish I could say why all this happened. I wish I could blame the Cambodian police for failing to control the crowds beforehand, letting too many people on the bridge, taking bribes to let people through, for their incompetence, for firing shots and using water cannons contributing to the panic and rush. I wish I could blame shoddy workmanship for electrocuting people and starting the panic. I wish I could be as callous as KI Media, immediately taking political advantage, calling for resignations and blaming the 'Yuon.' I wish I could blame the Khmers for being gawkers and rubberneckers and running toward the panicking crowd to see what was happening. I wish I could blame some "big black guy with an American accent" for pushing people around rather than helping. I wish I could blame the endemic corruption and greed in this society for ill-conceived plans and poor design. I wish I could be angry at the government for praising and giving the police a pass just hours after the tragedy. I wish I could fault the Prime Minister for trying to write it off as "just an accident" before knowing what really happened. I wish I could blame the Bayon stage for continuing to blast music through the whole thing. I wish I could blame bad luck, karma or fate for turning this heartless way. I wish I could blame God for allowing this evil to happen. I wish I could rail against somebody or something. I wish I could put this all on somebody else. Somehow it would seem that might help alleviate the sorrow over this disaster, if only a bit. But at this point we don't know exactly what happened or why. And recriminations, though understandable from those directly affected, are for the rest of us at this point only self-serving and perhaps unfair and damaging. I can only feel for the people that have been killed and injured and their families and loved ones who are suffering horrible loss at this very moment. The dead women and children, the families destroyed. I am haunted by the image a man crying over his dead child, happiness only a moment before. I can only try to empathize with the grief and pain they must be feeling and offer my deepest most heartfelt sympathies. It's the only thing of which I am certain and all I have right now, as little and inadequate as it is.


  1. Thanks for writing tbis. No blame. Just emotion.


  2. So sad, a nation in mourning, may their beliefs help those who lost love ones get through the coming days and may all those who seek to profit from this misfortune have their karma come back at them. RIP