I Don’t Think Steven Minded that I Left my Bracelet on the Cambodian Baby Tree


I’m currently traveling in Southeast Asia with Leon Logothetis who is on an epic around-the-world journey relying exclusively on the kindness of strangers.

Part of the benefit of 16 hour working days is seeing things I wouldn’t ever have the chance to see had I not been involved with this project.

One such site I saw today was one of the infamous “Killing Fields” in Phnom Phen, the capital of Cambodia, where millions of people were killed by a brutal regime in the 1970s.

These fields were the Khmer Rouge’s version of Auschwitz and Birkenau, where people who were “different” from what the establishment saw as “perfect” were killed.

This emotional experience got me thinking of all that is happening in Greece today… The rise of fanaticism and Neo-Nazism in the very nation that suffered more from Nazi brutality than any other nation during WWII and how these fanatical and maniacal Golden Dawn politicians want a “Greece for Greeks” with no immigrants, non-Orthodox or anyone who isn’t “Greek” in their eyes.

Sort of like Hitler… And also Ataturk and his annihilation of millions of Armenians and Greeks in the early 1920s.

One specific site where I nearly lost it was a tree that was used by the Pohl Pot regime to smash infants– so not to waste bullets on them. The babies were taken from the hands of the mothers who looked on in horror as they were smashed into the side of the tree.

treeSoon after, the mothers were also put to death with machetes in a pit that was dug right next to the tree.

It’s a Buddhist tradition of the Cambodian people to leave a kind of offering as a memorial… Today, the tree is covered with bracelets. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of them left by visitors.

…Including mine (it’s the black and white one in the left/middle of the photo

I’ve been wearing it on my wrist since February when I visited the island of Zakynthos. It was actually one that I got with my friend and co-producer of “No Man is an Island,” the film we are shooting about the survival of the Jewish population of the island of Zakynthos.

The bracelet has come to symbolize my bond with Steven and this film project. I don’t think he minded that I left it on this sacred tree.

I left it on that tree in Cambodia to honor the millions of innocent victims… And to try to connect their memory, in some small way, to the little short film we are producing about an act of humanity that happened on that far away Greek island in 1943.

Unfortunately for the Cambodian people, there wasn’t much humanity in these killing fields.

May the memory of those who died in these brutal killing fields live on so that fanaticism (like that which is gripping Greece) can never take hold of a nation and lead to the extermination of masses of people– simply because they are different.