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Published: July 19th 2008
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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