Khmer Rouge


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Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh
July 19th 2008
Published: July 19th 2008
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Between the years of 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge, under the leadership oF Pol Pot, ruled areas of Cambodia, including Phnom Penh. Money was abolished and cities were abandoned. Thousands of peope who spoke foreign languages or wore glasses were considered "parasites" and killed. Hundreds of thousands more died of mistreatment, malnutrition and disease. Between 1975-1979 approximately 2 million people were killed as a direct result of the policies imposed by the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge saw it's demise in 1998, just ten years ago.

Today we went to the Tuol Sleng Museum, a security prison and the killing fields of Choeung Ek. The Tuol Sleng Museum was originally a school. In 1975 Pol Pot's security turned the school into Security Prison 21 (S-21), the largest center of detentions and torture in the country. Almost everyone held here was later executed at the killing fields of Choeung Ek. In 1977, S-21 claimed an average of 100 victims per day.

After leaving Tuol Sleng, we went directly to the killing fields, about a 15 minute tuk tuk drive. While walking the fields, we were literally stepping over clothing and bones still unearthed. Our guide explained that during each wet season, when the field floods, they find more and more evidence of what happened here. We all walked in silence, occasionally stepping on teeth and broken pieces of bones. We have been asking ourselves, why do we not know about this? Who decides whose history is shared and whose is forgotten?

We really needed a break from the day's events and from the heat. We ate at our favorite rooftop restuarant, swung in a hammock and continued with our day visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, home of the King who fled to Beijing during the rule of the Khmer Rouge.

We have just returned from dinner and leave tomorrow at 6:45AM for a 4 hour bus ride to Sihanoukville on Cambodia's coast. Phonm Penh has been difficult and we are anxious to get out of here. We literally just open the book, point to where we want to go and we are off.

Thanks for checking up on us! We LOVE reading all your comments.

~Thai Kho and Crew






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MacaelaMacaela
Macaela

Macaela had to wear this because her shorts did not touch her knees.
CourtneyCourtney
Courtney

Us stuck on the side of the road, trying to hide from the sun under a very small tree, while our Tuk Tuk driver reassembled our vehicle.


19th July 2008

Kristen - I am glad to see you guys are doing well. I LOVE reading all about your travel experiences and thanks for sharing. It is amazing to hear about how other people live in a different part of the world. It's eye opening for me just sitting here reading about while I'm sitting on my couch...I can't even imagine how it's affected you guys. Take care
19th July 2008

I love reading your blogs, This morning I woke up and thought there was not blog yesterday, I hope there is one today. Be safe in your adventure. Miss Ya
19th July 2008

Thank you!
Thank you for sharing that little History lesson to us. As sad as it is. I think I'd rather run thru a field of flowers then skulls and body parts though mmlk;9 4r c v cmmmij j m l,;,[;
19th July 2008

Like I was saying...
......well that last comment was finished by Jaclyn as you can see. Then somehow she sumbitted the comment. Sorry about that! Told you she missed you. We all do. I'm constantly asked how you are and where and what you are doing. The "hood" is checking up on you regularly and well to be honest, I think people are checking up on me too. ha! So what is the food like? Any Thai Belly?? I hope not. I had pancakes for bfast and pizza for dinner last night, and you?? Are you craving American food? Have you guys showered? Please tell me yes, it's been over a week? Especially after walking thru that terrible killing field. What a sad place. Be safe on your next leg of the journey. You have no idea how many people have used the word Kristin and crazy in the same sentence this past week. Rob says you have a lot of balls!!! We are all very proud of you!!! We all love you so much and miss you!! We think you are "wicked awesome"!!!! :)) xxooxxoxoxoxox
19th July 2008

Hi...What an experince you are having...Not sure I would call this a vacation but certainly a learning experience...I can only imagine how quick ly you wanted to get out there...I hope there are alot of happy and uplifting stories awaiting you..All of you stay together and be safe...Love Mom
19th July 2008

Hi Girls
Hi Kristin and Crew, I have enjoyed reading about all of your adventures! It sounds like you are having an experience of a lifetime!! Enjoy every minute of it and stay safe! =) Melissa
19th July 2008

Amazing
What an amazing story. Very moving. Speaking of bones, did you see Posh Beckham at the airport? Now that girl is a walking stick figure drawing. Get some rest. Eric B.
19th July 2008

This is some serious stuff!
I feel that your view of the world is shifting. Your horizons have been expanded. Things just won't look the same upon your return. I'm sorry I missed your last blog. I am really trying to respond to each and everyone. I almost got eaten by a shark that has been swimming in the waters around the island. Well, maybe that isn't entirely true, but it still is pretty exciting stuff. I miss you. I love following you along this journey, and I'm so glad to see that you have started to include yourself in some pictures. Take care and be safe!
20th July 2008

Kristin, What wonderful stories!! You are a very nice writer. Maybe when you decide to give up on teaching, if ever, you can become a historian. These stories are filled with so much info., things that I never knew. Only one question> How could you visit a place with skulls, bones, clothing, UK???? Anyway, stay safe and be careful. God Bless. Love, Carol
20th July 2008

My young friend
There are those of us old enough to remember the Killing Fields. We watched every night as Peter Jennings brought the war into our homes. You are wise beyond your years to realize that history forgotten might be repeated. Now you know and will stand guard with others to ensure that genocide is exposed, condemned and stopped for you have walked the fields and the dust is not easily shaken. Ok sweetie, now get to a beautiful spot that makes your heart beat with joy and take a moment to thank God for your life, your courage and your ability to experience all you have and to share it so eloquently with all of us. My love, Lauren
20th July 2008

I'm learning as your updating!!! Be safe. Can't wait tohear more. Miss you!~
20th July 2008

Now you got the idea
Just flip and point...you can always fly when you need to time warp! The killing fields I have nothing to say about...
20th July 2008

Melissa
Hey, welcome aboard Melissa, or should I call you Mrs. Jeffrey?!!!!!
20th July 2008

I'm back!
Kris! I was so excited to get home to see how things are going for you! Not sure I will need to read any books this summer! Your blog/comments might be entertaining enough! :) Sounds like you are having an amazing time! You've already seen so much and it has been only ONE week! I can't believe your croc photo! Why were you THAT close! I went snorkeling and was freakin out about the little tiger fish swimming within a 5 foot radius! I guess my versions of "adventure" drastically vary from yours! Anyway, now is where it's going to get hard for me bc I'm home and it's going to start to sink in that you are NOT going to be around for another 5 weeks! I'm SO glad you decided to do this blog so I at least feel like you are around! I look forward to your next adventure! Please be careful! And seriously try to do something about the whole stinky thing! Love you, Jen xo
20th July 2008

Kristin, as I read your blogs I feel so connected to a reality that I cannot comprehend. I cannot imagine the intense emotions you must have felt as you crossed over these killing fields. Thank you so much for sharing all of your experiences. It is amazing how little we all know about what others lived. I hope that you are off to a happy place. Stay safe and keep those blogs coming. Love ya. Jane
20th July 2008

you are my vacation
Reading your adventures are being used as my vacation. Do all the walking for me since I can't. Still rather be at a Sox game or a Phillies game. Be careful and be safe. Murphy
20th July 2008

you are my vacation
Reading your adventures are being used as my vacation. Do all the walking for me since I can't. Still rather be at a Sox game or a Phillies game. Be careful and be safe. Murphy
21st July 2008

FUN
and i thought you were on vacation and having fun...didn't the girls teach you how to relax...this is not what I expected...you sure are seeing the world...but walking on bones etc...the sand in Wildwood is difficult enough...keep safe looking forward to your next adventure...
21st July 2008

This was the best idea.....I LOVE the blogs! I hope you all had fun at the beach!
21st July 2008

Well, you are experiencing it all. As I'm sure you knew this trip would be a learning experience for all of you and possibly life changing in one or more ways. Thanks for sharing and we will hear it all when we see you or you write a book. There was a bit here years back before your time about "The Killing Fields" but who knows if we really got the whole truth about it. Thinking of you. Stay safe. Love Lucille
21st July 2008

Freaky!
Ok, I just hopped online in hopes you updated the blog as your email to me yesterday promised. So I was reading everyone elses comments and your fregin car alarm just went off!!?!?! Freaky or what?? Now I'm even more worried about you that that was some sign of something. Be sure to write soon. And even from Cambodia you managed to wake up the neighborhood. You must have woken Jaclyn up out of a sound sleep cause she was screaming/crying but not a peep out of her now. What button do I press on your key chain? I pressed yellow and your car turned on and the alarm turned off. Do you even have an alarm? The horn was blowing like crazy, more like my panic button on my car. But not a sole in my driveway and your keys were tucked away in the cabinet like they have been. I'll try not to use all your gas up shutting that horn off. Let me know some suggestions, I'm shaking, nearly knocked me off my seat it scared the **** out of me. Love and miss you!!
21st July 2008

And I thought the Snake Farm was Bad!
I really give you guys alot of credit. This is not how I thought your vacation was going to be! Take Care, and please try to have some FUN!!!! Isn't there a beach or two along the way!!!! Walking on bones, and teeth makes you stop and think!!! Glad I live the good old USA!!!! Take Care! Can't wait for the next BLOG!!! Love, Debbie
21st July 2008

hello to all
.........wow................you guys are seeing it all.............I wish I could have gone with you..........Enjoy! Macaela- I cant wait til you get back so we can have a BIG party at my house. Greer
21st July 2008

Greer
Welcome to the blog! Macaela is amazing and doing very well. Be warned though, she is talking about building a hut in her backyard to live in. I'm sure your Vermont winters are slightly worse than ours, so I feel this is just a momentary goal.
21st July 2008

Debbie
Vacation is a funny word and I will now use it more carefully than ever before. Hope you are enjoying your summer!
21st July 2008

Nicole
I don't have a car alarm! Maybe it was our screaming from the mice running around.
21st July 2008

Wow...This is certainly quite an experience...I remember watching the movie The Killing Fields. Once was enought to watch it...Hopefully your next location will be more uplifting...hey have any of you showered as of yet??? I hope so for all of your sakes...Enjoy and be very careful...Love Mom
23rd July 2008

It is really interesting to learn about the history of other places. It sounds like you are definitely having quite the experience. I love following your journey. Stay safe and enjoy! Miss you!

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