Im so in love with this country that I decided I owe it to Cambodia to face up to its past. Yesterday I traveled to Phnom Penh and today I visited the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum. Itâ€™s got to be the saddest place I have ever been and Im not ashamed to admit that I cried my eyes out.
I donâ€™t really know how to write about it. I donâ€™t think I will be able to get what Im trying to say out properly. Its just awful really.
The one positive thing I can say about The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, is how well the place is now kept. You are given an audio guide which helps gives purpose to some of the things you see. It also means that no one really talks making it calm and peaceful. You are free to wonder around and learn about what happened here.
Its awful how many people were killed here. Under the reign of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge killed a third of Cambodias population for absurd crimes or no reason at all such as unauthorised possession of a banana. The site here is a mass grave where thousands of victims were brutally killed. Scraps of clothing and bits of bone can still be found on the ground and with new rain, new evidence of brutality is brought up from the earth.
There is a Buddist Stupa made of the skulls of the victims to commemorate those who were lost. One of things of that upset me the most was learning about the Chankiri Tree (Killing tree). I honestly find it to upsetting to write about but google if if you are interested.
They also had a Music tree here. This is large tree in which they hung speakers on. They loudly played propaganda songs to cover up the sound of people being murdered. You could listen to one of these songs on the audio guide and it sent shivers up my spine and made me feel sick. It was awful.
During its high time 1000â€™s of people were brought here a day. It was too expensive to use bullets to kill them, so the Khmer Rouge used everyday farming equipment such as shovels and rakes. Death was slow and painful. The bodies were tipped into numerous mass graves on the site and covered in a chemical to disguise the smell of rotting corpses.
After My time I paid a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21). I found this deeply disturbing and moving. Im just astonished that any of this happened and so recently. I think the biggest injustice of the whole affair is that many of the people responsible have not been punished. Many are still waiting trial and Pol Pot himself only died in 2009 under house arrest. He was never tried for his crimes.