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Published: February 4th 2013
The man you see in the picture is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge Regime and 1 of 7 survivors out of 20,000 people murdered at Tuol Slong S-21 Prison. . .
In 1975 the Khmer Rouge stormed into Phnom Penh and evacuated everyone from the city telling them that the US was going to bomb the area and they would be allowed back in within 3 days, this never happened! what began was over 3 years of slavery, murder, torture, hunger and genocide. The people of Cambodia were stripped of their identities, personal belongings, seperated from thier families and were told not to love! so that all people of Cambodia would be the same, ancient people and peasants. Today we visited Tuol Slong Prison (S-21) and The Killing Fields.
Tuol Slong prison was a school to begin with but as schools had been abolished, the Khmer Rouge turned it into a prison. S-21 housed anyone who dare speak out against the regime and also held Khmer Rouge officials who were suspect of treason. The schools class rooms once used for positive reasons were turned into torture chambers and prison cells. Prison cells, about 3 feet by 8 feet, were built inside the classrooms and prisoners were shackeld here all day without being able to even whisper to one another. Other rooms were used to line prisoners, laying down, along the class room floor. All were shackled together and not aloud to speak to one another, there were about 60 prisoners in each room.
The prison cells were still intact and some beds in various rooms were still there from when people were tortured. Torture varied from electric shock, the pulling of finger nails to being hung upside down until they bacame unconscious and then held under water that was used for fertilising fields to wake them up! in one part of the school you could see the photos of people who had be processed into the prison and photos taken of the victims that had been beaten to death! from the 20,000 people that went to the prison only 7 survived! as the numbers of people who were being exacuted increased the Khmer Rouge needed somewhere else to take the corpses, from here they constructed Choeung Ek
(AKA The Killing Fields).
Prisoners were blindfolded and taken by truck at night with the promise that they were being taken to another housing! They were then processed at the other end and held in a room so they could not see each other. Each prisoner's name was called and they were led to a mass grave and told to kneel with their hands tied behind their backs. As the Khemer Rouge did not waste bullets!! these people were smashed in the back of the head first, with a metal bar or what ever was handy, and then had their throats slit, after which they were thrown into the pit to die! if they didnt die after this, the Khmer Rouge covered the pit with a chemical that would not only kill the remainding people but also disguise the smell of rotting flesh later on! those who didnt die were buried alive! The story gets even worse as women were torn away from their babies, sometimes raped, and had to endure whitnessing their babies being smashed against trees until they were dead!! after which they were murdered too.
You can stand and look at the mass graves that were uncovered, you can even see clothes and bones that are still coming up through the earth due to the rainy season washing dirt away. Words really cant express what you feel when you go to a place like that and S-21 Prison. It makes you wonder what kind of a brain/mind/person would do that to someone!! it's reported that 2 million people died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.
We didnt take any pictures out of respect, it just didnt seem right. If you want to look further into the history of the Khmer Rouge there is lots of information on the internet and tons of books, diaries and films.
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