Taking the Long Way travel blog

The stupa

The Stupa

Skulls in the Stupa

Clothing of victims

Shelves of bones and skulls

Grave site

Cheoung Ek

The dips in the ground are all excavation sites of mass graves

Lake in the grounds behind the graves

Lake behind the graves

 

 

S-21, converted from a school into a prison

14 graves of unknown remains found inside the prison at the end...

One of the larger cells in which the prisoner was shacked to...

The rules of S21

Rows of the larger cells

 

1000's of photos taken by the Khmer of victims upon their entry...

Smaller confinement cells

Barely enough room to turn around

Barbed wire on the balconies prevented any suicide attempts by throwing themselves...

Still more skulls on display here


Happily settled at the Cyclo Hotel In Phnom Penh I headed out with Boris and Juric via tuk-tuk to Choeng Ek, the Killing Fields about 14km outside of the city centre. The area is the site of 129 mass graves of Cambodian people executed here by the Khmer Rouge between 1975-1978.

In the middle of the site is a stupa (monuement) that serves as a memorial. Inside the stupa are nearly 9000 human skulls that were excavated from the site. It is sorrowful place, with great dips in the land eveidence of the excavations of the bones of the victims.

From there we went to Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, which is the former 'Security Office 21'; a primary and high school complex that was converted by the Khmer Rouge for detention, interrogation, torture and killing of prisoners held there. S-21 is possibly the saddest place I have ever been. The buildings are set up exactly the same as they were when the prison was in operation and is documented with an uncomfortable accuracy.

Many of the prisoners were photographed on their arrival and hundred of thousands of mug shots are on display. Much more chilling are the rooms that hold nothing but a steel bed and shackles; and a photograph of a person being tortured in that exact spot.

I came away with a much greater understanding of exactly what the Khmer Rouge regime entailed and just how it came about that nearly 3 million people died as a result of it. Just horrendous that genocide occured on that scale within my lifetime.



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