Phnom Penh – we visited the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (known as Killing Fields) and the Toul Sleng Genocide musuem (S21) to better understand the history of Cambodia.
Over 2 million Cambodians died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot in 4 years, starting from April 1975. The ‘Killing Field’ visited is most well known from them all, there are over 300 killing fields in Cambodia.
Walking through the fields, I had chills running down my spine as I listened to the stories of a few survivors.
Women and children were not spared in this genocide. Victims were rarely killed with bullets, as ammunition was expensive, hence other objects was used to crack the skull of many victims.
Many also died from starvation and disease. Food was rationed, hospitals were closed and western medication was denied to many in need of it.
At the entrance of this killing field, a ‘Stupa’ was built to house over 5,000 skulls, bones and clothes that was retrieved from the mass graves.
In the afternoon we visited Toul Sleng – which was a secret centre where people were tortured by the Khmer Rouge. Between 12,000 and 20,000 people was tortured here. The audio tour also included stories from survivors.
Furthermore, a moving book that described the events during this horrific time, written by Loung Ung – First They Killed My Father, is recommended to understand what the people of Cambodia endured.
“In memory of the 2 million people that perished under the Khmer Rouge Regime”.