US Delegate Horrified by Hotel Bombings

After Wednesday’s deadly ex­plosions at two hotels on Moni­vong Boulevard, Sara Khun is back where her family was 20 years ago: Worrying about how soon she can leave Cam­­bodia for the safety of the US.

“This is hopeless,” she said Thurs­­day after making an unsuccessful trip to a tour agency to change the date of an airplane flight. “I will go anywhere, as long as I can land [in the US].”

The 25-year-old was born in Battambang province during the second year of the Pol Pot re­gime. After her family reached the US in 1980, Khun learned to speak English like an American and now works for the US congressman who represents Lowell in the state of Massachusetts.

Last week, she returned for the first time with a 21-member delegation from Lowell, a small town  that has the country’s second largest population of Cambodian-Americans.

On Wednesday, she was at a photo shop when a bomb on the Favour Hotel’s fourth floor—where she had been staying but moved before the blast because she felt there was a lack of security—exploded.

It was stories like this that had made her hesitant to make the trip in the first place, believing that “things could just erupt immediately.”

Her parents had planned to come exactly three years ago. They flew from Boston to Los An­geles, but turned around after they learned of the July 1997 factional fighting.

Khun made this trip because the delegation was given police and military escorts to meetings with government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen.

But when the visit officially end­ed last week, so did the tight security. Half of the delegation returned home, while the other half stayed on to tour the country.

Khun had planned to visit her home village in Battambang prov­ince. Now she’s given up that idea.

“This is my first time back and my last time,” she said.


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