Published: May 27th 2010May 27th 2010
Phenom Penh. Cambodia’s capital. We came here in order to learn more about the genocide that took place in Cambodia in the 1970s. An estimated 2 million people were massacred. The then communist leader, Pol Pot wanted a country where everyone was equal, which he aimed to achieve by murdering all the ‘intellectuals’ which included scientists, doctors, lawyers, foreigners, etc, and after awhile anyone wearing glasses was not safe. Everyone else was shipped out to the country side to work in the fields leaving the capital completely deserted. Conditions were harsh and many died. Pol Pot was paranoid of a rebellion and anyone who disobeyed him was tortured and then murdered. People were encouraged to spy on their neighbours and no one was allowed any enjoyment in their day to day life.
In the end the country was rescued by the Viennese army while the rest of the world denied the atrocities going on. Even after the people were liberated 4 years later, 100 000 people had to send in petitions to the UN to get them to kick out the UN Cambodian Ambassador who was a member of Pol Pot’s regime. These petitions feature in grotesque details some of
the horrific incidents people experienced and were on display in the museum we went to.
Dana and I visited the museum which is in a school that had been converted into a torture/interrogation/prison during Pol Pot’s regime. Here were 1000s of photographs of the victims because like the Nazi’s, they took a photo of all their prisoners and everything was extremely well documented. Some photographs were of people who had been beaten to death. As you walk through the rooms you see chains and metal bed frames where people were killed or tortured and in a couple places you could see where the floor was stained with blood.
We also went to the killing fields just outside of the capital. They have a monument which contains over 8000 skulls of the deceased. The area is essentially one massive grave site and since the area is flooded every year more and more bones and clothes wash up. While we were walking down the path you could see shards of bone coming up in the path. There is one large tree in the centre where they found blood and hair and hundreds of dead babies with smashed heads.
horrific moment in Cambodia’s history; may the souls of those killed rest in peace.
There are more photos below