2012-11-05 The Killing Fields

5 11 2012

Today was another hot, humid day, with the temperature hovering around 30C at 0900, you knew it was going to be hot! 

After breakfast, we headed out to see Tuol Sleng, the interrogation centre where the Khmer Rouge tortured confessions out of anyone suspected of being more than a simple peasant. Once they had the confession they wanted, they shipped them off to the killing fields to be executed. A brutal, horrid system.

While there, prisoners were shackled at the feet and bound with their hands behind their back. They were force to stay in small stalls and given only an ammo box to use as their toilet.  Torture happened everyday for prisoners, sometimes more often.  The “interrogation” continued until the victim died or confessed to being an American or Russian agent, in which case they were then sent off to be killed.

After Tuol Sleng, we headed over to Choeung Ek, about 15km out of Phnom Penh. It was here that the Khmer Rouge did their nastiest work.  Everyone here was killed as they arrived.  About 300 people per day.  Babies were tossed in the air and shot at for target practice.  Small children were held by their legs and their head swung against a tree to kill them. It was gruesome.  It really was a crime against humanity.

The remains of the victims are now kept in what amounts a large ossuary. A shrine to their suffering.  It stands so tall, and is so full, it chokes you up to see it


Layer upon layer of skulls

The visit was a sobering reminder of the brutality of mankind.  It was both saddening and overwhelming to think of the horrors that happened only 35 years ago.

There are other pictures from the day (not all from the Killing Fields, some happy things too!) on my Flickr:

Tomorrow we fly to Siem Reap, so we are leaving our hotel at 0530. Time to sleep!




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