Come along for the journey!

Come along for the journey!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

THE KILLING FIELDS: (Phnomh Penh, Cambodia)

In the mood for a relaxing day out, we headed for the S21 genocide museum , which houses exhibits in the actual prison found abandoned by the Thai army upon freeing the capital from Pol Pot's regime. The army found people still on the beds, dead but recently tortured. The exhibits are pretty brutal and hard-hitting - the photo's of what was found are there on the wall of the room you are in; the graves outside the room contain the remains of the victims. We felt pretty nauseous.

Aside from the blood and guts of it, and knowing that between 1 and 3 million people lost their lives to this sick movement, I think I was most appalled by the way it appeared Pol Pot tried to outlaw love, creating an allegiance to the state through instilling mistrust of everyone around you. How the country has recovered to the degree it has is amazing. There are obviously still scars though: It's so weird to think that anyone of my age and older will have first hand memory of the genocide - the whole country was literally in ruins. Our rickshaw driver lost 5 of his 11 siblings. Apparently, Duch, the person who ran the S21 prison, deeply regrets the atrocities he committed and accepts full responsibility having had a 'death bed conversion'. We're having one of those built for my mother on our new house.

Next stop was the killing fields where thousands of people were taken to their death for being an enemy of the new state, or simply for wearing glasses. We finished the day watching 'The Killing Fields' film with our family friend Patrick in it. Altogether, a pretty harrowing day.

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