The State Department’s decision to stop supporting the Cambodian rebels reminds me of an experience I had that began in Bangkok and ended in a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border. Although it happened three years ago, it might as well have been last month, for one feature of such places is a deadly timelessness.
Downtown Bangkok: A Thai gem merchant collared me in the Temple of the Golden Buddha. Hearing that I was a writer, the gem merchant politely wondered why I hadn’t visited the camps five hours to the east. Thailand was not just temples of golden Buddhas, the gem merchant said. Things, human things, were happening here—I had an obligation to see....
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