‘Your Killing Fields Await:’ A Communist Survivor Watches America’s Descent Into the Abyss
She was plucked from the tides on an American shore in 1979. An improbable arrival on a boat with no plausible seaworthiness for even 100 yards, much less across the tossing waves of 4,000 miles, overloaded by double capacity and sloshing bilge to gunnel with the toxic stench of human waste, scraps of snatched and rotting food and the lifeless bodies of children and old men and women who hadn’t lasted the journey and who had yet to be fed to the ocean waves.
Such suicide and starvation boats were called “rape rafts” in her home country, where it was understood that the price of miracle attempted passage to the United States was the forcible stolen pleasure of a woman’s honor, again and again and again, and the likely death of any protesting male companion, future husband, boyfriend or lover who might speak out against such atrocity before being shot in the head and cast overboard to the sharks beneath the glitter of fractured moonlight dancing on a devil’s ocean.
Such was the unlikely gambler’s bargain of an attempted escape from the killing fields of a country lost to the madness of the Khmer Rouge and buried forever in the distant rice paddies of orange soil of the same shade as the kerchiefs worn by the butchers of Phnom Penh and the scatterers of bone and sinew and discarded corpses, layer upon layer in the swallowing clay and sweltering sun.
And now she was here.
Separated from her senses as a form of final defense, living, dying, dreaming or unhinged, she could not care or know the difference. Paying freedom’s ransom for a journey her own parents had dreamed for her as last refuge from certain butchery and the proffered fertilization of a massacre hidden as mystery from the world.
But that was 40 years ago now. The memories of a young woman and the tears of an old, overlapped by what seemed multiple lifetimes of double shifts, relocations, job changes and the endless pelting of obligation to expand herself and her dreams, to be worthy of brothers and sisters and cousins and countrymen buried with open mouths in the molten hell of a nightmare and her unlikely escape. And now, she walks the uncrecogizable streets of America, seeing and hearing the familiar wild eyed insanity in the faces of children spouting slogans and hatred. Words she has heard before, so long ago.
Begging for monstrous fantasies and speaking the language of Marx and Mao, sketching hammer and sickle and cursing America as the evil of the world. She remembers the long months of learning the language of her new home and the long nights studying for her citizenship and the unspeakable pride she felt, reciting the pledge of allegiance and the feeling of belonging and safety as her heart beat furiously in her chest and the flag of American dreams waved in the sunshine.
Now surrounded again by the evil ones who cover their faces to hide their shameful hearts. The evil ones, hungry for the blood of innocence and longing for the great burning down of humanity’s simple hopes with the same brimstone sparks that lit the streets of Peking and Moscow and Saigon. Always with their black pajamas. And always with the fists of rage.
She wants to spit in their faces. She wants to gouge their eyes and scream into their ears of things said and seen and heard and survived. She wants to teach them neglected lessons about 300-million lives lost in a red ocean of the world. She wants to shake them until their eyes become human again, to see truth and pain and the reasons for her tears. Instead, she walks on, and tugs the cloak of bitter remembrance closer around her shoulders and feels the dull ache of being violated again, an old woman’s dreams of peace and solace torn from hands calloused with the effort of her long spent youth.
The drumbeat of the waves pounding once more against the thin hull of a makeshift vessel beneath her vacant stare that is never far from her vision, tossed on the pitching seas of history’s omen by one wave and another and another, pelting against her memory with the rocking of a passage fare extracted through bitter tears. Rocking, rocking.
As the children of desecration prepare new wars and boats and refugees. And rivers of blood, set free with no destination now between heaven and hell…as America sinks beneath the waves.