M y children are beautiful. My children are beautiful. Now they are dead." Davy
bursts into tears. She is 40 years old and her family has been devastated by the
fighting during the weekend. She is the only person in her family of seven who is
unhurt so she has to rush from one bed to another to look after her relatives gathered
in Calmette hospital.
Unluckily, her house is located in Pochentong market next to a Funcinpec one star
general: he was a target of the shelling launched by CPP forces on Saturday afternoon.
Over two days, Davy had to come twice to the hospital. On Saturday, she came to visit
her daughter who was injured in the head. "I could not bring her by myself.
The neighbors brought her in the hospital. So I came later to see her," she
"I thought she had been killed by the shell, but I saw her raising her hand
and I went to pick her up," Davy says.
On Sunday, she came back to bring two other kids hit in the arms by shrapnel and
her husband, wounded in the feet.
In the courtyard of her house, two dead bodies remained during the fighting. Her
9-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were killed by the shell that hit all the
family at once. "The roads were blocked and nobody could come to take them out,"
says the mother, in tears.
"They are fighting each other. Why do they destroy the relationships between
the mothers and their children?"
And she cries.
Davy has no idea why the shelling started exactly, but for protection they went downstairs
and gathered in one room.
"We were gathered in the ground floor of the house and we were all in the same
group. The shell came through the wall and dropped near us. I am the only one not
hit," she says.
She is staying in room 4. On a bed in the room, Sokunteath is complaining. She has
her head covered with cotton netting to protect her dressing. The 15-year-old girl
received a shrapnel wound. Her arms and legs are tied to the bed. Her eyes are blurred
and she reacts slowly when people talk. She takes a long time before recognizing
"I am very worried. She had convulsions for three days and could not eat,"
says the mother as she peels an orange for her daughter.
The mother is angry at the soldiers who destroyed her family and her belongings.
In 1970, she had lost her first husband during the bombings. Now her second husband
She is looking after her family and says she has to rebuild her life.
"I just want to rebuild a small house. I will rebuild a smaller one and the
most important thing is for my daughter to recover from her injuries. That is my
aim," she says.
"She will not be able to have a correct brain, but I want to get her moved,"
she says, giving the fruit to her child.
On the bed next to Sokun-teath's, a man is recovering from the injury to his right
leg. He was in the middle of the fighting in Tang Krasang pagoda.
"Six people were killed by only one shell. I am the only one to survive,"
He went that morning to the pagoda to get some holy water for a ceremony and then
was blocked by the fighting and had no choice except to stay.
"The shelling was coming from everywhere and they were targeting the pagoda
instead of the camp," he said.
In the corridor, a man could not stop crying. He is a Phnom Penh port employee and
his wife has been wounded, his son as well, and his niece is dead.
"I left my house in Bang Sralang on Saturday before the fighting started and
when I got back it was terrible," he says.
His wife and his son were injured as they packed the family's few belongings. When
he returned home, he found everyone in pain. He rushed to the hospital.
"During the war in Phnom Penh, we never lived in such bad conditions. My son
is now always thinking of the grenade. He cannot sleep," he says.
His wife's bed is surrounded with relatives and friends. Everyone has red eyes and
their faces are angry and anxious.
"When I came to see my wife in the hospital, I saw a woman who had her two legs
amputated. I cried a lot, I thought it was my wife. But then I recognized my wife
and she was fine, so I felt like I had won the lottery," he says.
He tells of how his son nearly died.
"They should stop fighting. Otherwise all people will die. I understand that
they are fighting for power, not for the people. If they loved the people they would
not fight," he says.
"When I feel better I will write a book about my family's suffering."
He pulls from his pocket a wad of 500 riel notes. "I have nothing left except
that. Hopefully, I have my neighbors and my relatives to come and help me."
Further down the corridor, Cambodian Red Cross members, accompanied by doctor in
chief Heng Thai Kry distribute kramas and sarongs to the victims.
Kry says there were no problems for Funcinpec victims at the hosptial.
"We respect the Geneva charter and we provide aid to everyone despite their
political belief," he says, telling of a Funcinpec colonel who was injured during
the headquarters fighting.
But according to hospital sources, some soldiers tried to hide their loyalties. They
arrived naked and dropped their weapons outside.
The doctor in chief says, passing from one victim's bed to another, that now he can
be elected director of the hospital.
"Funcinpec was blocking the issue of my appointment at the council of administration.
Now it should be OK," he says.