When planning my peregrinations around the world, there are many places on my list that I want to go to, but need a final additional reason to justify the trip. So when my New Zealand friend and ocean rower Rob Hamill told me he was going to be in Amsterdam for the International Documentary Film Festival and urged me to pop over the North Sea, it didn’t take too much arm-twisting. It would be a chance to catch up with a couple of other friends, as well as to see the film that I knew had absorbed much of Rob’s time and energy over the last couple of years.
Brother Number One is the tragic story of an individual, a family, and an entire country affected by the brutal regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia. Rob’s brother Kerry was sailing off the coast of Cambodia when he was captured by the Khmer Rouge. He was held captive, tortured, and ultimately murdered. The film follows Rob as he visits Cambodia to talk with survivors and perpetrators, and to bear witness at the trial of Duch, the most infamous of the alleged war criminals. I’ve posted my photos of the evening to Flickr.
The saddest part of the film, for me, was when Rob describes how his second brother struggled to cope with the murder of the family’s oldest son, and ultimately threw himself off a cliff to his death. The killing of Kerry spread ripples far beyond the taking of a single life. It reminded me how all actions spread ripples, large or small, good or bad.
I took the chance, while I was in the Netherlands, to visit an alumnus of TED Mission Blue who lives in Utrecht. Many thanks to Mike Velings for his kind hospitality. I was most impressed with Utrecht – a smaller, cleaner, less hectic version of Amsterdam, with lovely canals, cobbled streets, and old buildings. I have made this slideshow out of my photos. Enjoy!
The Women’s Eye have just published a nice interview with yours truly. Check it out here.
I have now moved on from the Netherlands to somewhere else in Europe. I’m not going to tell you yet where to…. but listeners to the podcast will be the first to know!