Monday, 12 March 2012

Khmer Rouge: the killing fields and the genocide museam

In telling the story of Cambodia, one has to tell the whole story, also the unpleasant and not pretty parts. In 1975-1979 Cambodia was ruled by the Democratic republic of Kampuchea and under a man called Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge was formed. Their dream and goal was to be completely independant, to have a communist system, to revolutionise the economy and to destroy khmer traditions and culture. In 3.5 years schools, buildings, books, etc were destroyed. People were moved from the cities into the countryside and everyone including women and children were forced into farming which improved rice exportation and the economy. Everyone had to wear black clothing, keep their heads down and work. They wanted no independant, free thinkers, and no educated people and thus these people were all killed. Even their kids and babies were killed so that they could not grow up to avenge their parents' deaths. They used young kids who they brainwashed to be the killing machines and the torturers.

Over 2.5 million people died through killing or starvation in less than 4 years. We visited the school which was turned into a prison. We stood in the rooms where they were tortured and saw the beds to which they were shackled. We stood in the tiny cells in which they were held and saw the photos of the victims and the child soldiers, thousands of faces on the walls...and in the last room, we saw the glass cases filled with the skulls of the bodies which were found in the mass graves in 1980 and the remnants of the clothes that were found in the graves. We saw photos of the tortured, the dead and the dying. It was horrific. We had a guide who told the stories and one can see from the way that he speaks that it is still very very emotional for these people.

After that we visited the killing field. Here the prisoners were taken after the torture at the prison. They arrived by the truckloads: blindfolded, shackled, thinking they were being taken to a new village. Instead they were made to stand in front of the mass grave and then bludgeoned to death with blunt instruments. In the museam one can see the skulls of these people with massive holes in them, skulls with blindfolds still on them and even little baby clothes, blood stained...Walking in the killing fields you can still see bones sticking up from the grounds as each rainy season brings a fresh load of skeletons to the surface....

In 1979 the vietnamese liberated the cambodian people, but only a few khmer rouge leaders have stood trial thus far. Some are dead, some deny any involvement and the money for the trials are drying up...Many of the child killers are now in their forties and live in the countryside, among the people whose parents and family they have killed. The Khmer people are bitter and still have no answers, they still cant understand...

As u can imagine, we had no apetite for photgraphy. We took only 3 photos to remember their suffering and pain and pray that mankind will never repeat these acts.....

killing field

classroom restructured as a prison with little cells

one of the tiny cells

1 comment:

  1. That sounds so sad, I don't know if I could have gone into that school/prison.