Thursday, April 4, 2013

A somber day in Phnom Penh

Today was a hard day.  We visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.

First we drove to the Killing Fields, which are just south of Phnom Penh.  We had an audio tour of the site, where we learned some of the horrible details of the Khmer Rouge.

Just under 9000 people are thought to have been killed at the Choeung Ek Killing Fields.  As you walk around you can see the many sites where graves have been discovered.  Weather and time continue to turn up bits of the past- fragments of bone and bits of clothing are constantly surfacing.  In 2008 a stupa was erected some of the bones and remains which were found at this site.

This site is the largest location, but across Cambodia there are 288 gravesites that have been uncovered.  It is estimated that around 3 million people lost their lives during Pol Pot's reign (in addition to those killed at these sites, many across the country died of hunger, disease and sickness).  

(the depressions show where mass graves have been discovered)

S-21 was a school until the Khmer Rouge overtook Phnom Penh on April 17th, 1975.  The place remains as a museum today, where you can see photos of the victims and the classrooms which were turned into cells where people spent their last days.

(one of 4 buildings) 

(the Khmer Rouge kept meticulous record of their prisoners) 

(barbed wire covered the openings to prevent victims from jumping to an early death)

Sorry to have such a sad post for you today.  It was not easy being in these places, but it did help us to better understand what Cambodians have endured over the last few decades.  

1 comment:

  1. That is so sad. I think we are going to get to go hear while I'm over there. I need to prepare my spirit to be ready to see all of that.