Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields
|Loss of Innocents at the Memorial Site Stupa|
|Tuol Sleng Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia|
As a foresight, I am a mere tourist and I question, "Who am I to say something about the loss of innocents." Yet, it is worth delving deep into. To learn something from it. That is what history is about, right? To respect and remember the past and courageously move on..in spite of..
|Corridors of Building B|
Tuol Sleng Museum was once a secondary school. On April 17, 1975, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge transformed this school into a prison called S-21 or Security Office 21, considered the biggest in Kampuchea Democratic. Thousands of victims were imprisoned and exterminated with their wives and children. Many evidences including instruments of torture, documents, list of prisoners, victim's photos and cells were found, proving the horrors and cruelty that one's deranged view of a perfect government can do to hurt humanity.
|Security Rules within the Prison|
|The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center|
The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center is a memorial site and it is most well known from over 300 Killing fields throughout Cambodia. It is located approximately 15 km southeast of the city in Choeung Ek commune, Khan Dhangkor, Phnom Penh. The solemn Tuk-tuk drive from where we were staying (which was close to Tuol Sleng) somehow retraced the path these oblivious prisoners took when they were transported before their night of doom.
|The Killing Fields surrounded by barbed wires|
|The Killing Tree where innocent children and babies were executed|
|Reflections listening to survivors' stories during the audio tour of where it all happened|
This former orchard looked peaceful but it holds dark memories within these mass graves. Almost 2 million people were murdered during the Khmer Rouge regime in the country. You can feel the chill in the air. Please feel free to visit the following websites if you wish to learn more:
Khmer Rouge Tribunal: www.ecccc.gov.kh/en
Yale University's Cambodian Genocide Program: www.yale.edu/cgp
Cambodia Tribunal Monitor: www.cambodiatribunal.org
Choeng Ek Genocidal Center: www.cekillingfield.org
It was very humbling. My husband and I agreed on the same thing, the injustice done to them is beyond words. Something like this could happen to any of us at any given time and at any given place. They didn't expect something horrible awaited them when they saw men and women in black and red and white checkered scarves started ordering them out of the city.
Since then I have never felt the same. I woke up with nightmares of Pol Pot at 3AM and after a visit to the Killing Fields the next day, it was heartbreaking, I cried during the tour and my body broke down afterwards as I physically suffered from fever and terrible flu. Sometimes while conversing with locals and their family, you can sense a tearful edge in their voice since most of them lost a family member.
I say a silent prayer and hope you would too.
Love & light,