Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cambodia – A vibrant culture, charming people, jaw-dropping sights (part 7)

The Killing Fields...

The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek is situated 15km south-west of Phnom Penh. All the victims who were detained and tortured at Tuol Sleng were later sent here for liquidation. This was the place where at least 20,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves. Many of them transported here after they were detained and tortured at Toul Sleng during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, where at least 200,000 people were executed. This place gave us a chilling reminder of the brutalities of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.

More people became aware of this place after the "The Killing Fields", a 1984 British motion picture told the story of a Cambodian journalist, played by a Cambodian actor and his journey to escape the death camps.

The executed were buried in mass grave here. In order to save ammunition, the executions were often carried out using hammers, axe handles, spades or sharpened bamboo sticks. Some victims were required to dig their own graves. The soldiers who carried out the executions were mostly young men or women from peasant families.

In the center of this area is a 17-story glass stupa which houses more than 8985 skulls exhumed from mass graves. You can see that the skulls were neatly arranged by age, through the acrylic glass display of the stupa. Walking through the mass grave site, we came across bone fragments and even teeth. The place surely made us felt eerie and disturbing but what’s more important was we learn and never let history repeat.

There are more than 8000 skulls in this stupa.

click on the pictures and take a closer look...

enlcosed mass graves...

more mass graves...

open mass graves...

more and more mass graves...

above left: children were beaten here
above right: the leaves were used to slash the throats of victims


don't be alarmed if you spot bone and teeth fragments while walking in the Killing Fields...
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1 comment:

Ian Wolfgang said...

I have been to Cambodia and reading your blog made me recall those places which I have also visited. I remember we covered those places mentioned in your blog but it was too much for us to absorb as everything was done in 2/3 days. Now with your pictures and narrations in your blog, my wife and I started to recall. Thank you for the good work.