Killing Fields, Phnom Penh
My friend advised me not to visit there in the first day as it is a sad place. I disapprovingly did not listen to his advice.
However, i am totally wrong. After touring around and listening to the introduction of the guide, I have my tear out. One of the reason is I feel how brutal people can be, how silly to control people's mind. More connectedly, it makes me thought about the massacre did by Japanese in my hometown during WWII. Comparing to what Japanese did, it is not comparable to see what Khem party did. However, i am not a nationalist and I have to suppress my feelings and tear as there is a Japanese girl in our tour group. We had good talks in the first beggining, but afterwards, we just remain silence to each other.
Crying, suppressing makes that day become the saddest one during my trip and I have a terrible night by not able to getting into sleep at all. Moreover, there is another seaman from Australia in our group and we occasionally meet again the next day. He told me his nephew suicided with gun one day before visiting to the field but he was advised by his relatives after visiting.
When it becomes sad, all the saddest things come together. But it is obviously better to have them all at a time instead of having it in different days.
What you see in the momument are just skulls piled up with many level.
Reason for killing(in my understanding): During the domination of Khem party, to rule and control people's mind makes them kill from kids to elders, from commons to intelligences.
Comparing to German's massacre to Jewish, it seems very little people know about Nanjing Massacre did by Japanese, which they kill 0.3millions of people within one week. And the worst thing is that Japanese government never admit their maleficence till today.
To know more about it(also the weblink):
Dec,13th,1937,the Japanese Army invaded into Nanjing and started a six month bloody massacre. The total victims ammounts to 0.3 Millions.
To understand Cambodia & appreciate the delicacy of the situation, one probably has to know something of its history.
Pol Pot (Saloth Sar) has a lot to answer for.
To the majority of people in this world, Cambodia is an undeveloped country just like any.
What they do not know (even now) is the atrocities that people in this country had to experience in the 70s when the Khmer Rouge was acting like savage who has no concience or human values & pried on their innocent & naive citizens in the name of building a communist regime.
I'm not 100% sure if I get the facts right but that's really not important in comparison to the after effect of this war-torn country.
Consider this, there were about over 6 million people in Cambodia in the early 70s. In the years that the Khmer Rouge was in power (around 5 years), almost 1/3 of these men, women, children & babies were killed. Many were tortured, not for a day or two, but for more than 3 years. It's mass-murder in progress & the world didn't even know about this until almost too late!
What I had learned were gathered from the movie "The Killing Fields" & from talking to few of the natives of Cambodia.
It is chilling to hear the bloodiness this country has to undergo with millions of people being executed in the public, starved to death & tortured beyond one's imagination.
For a little understanding of what had happened, perhaps it's best that you read the reports on the internet.
I found this article while searching the net. If you are interested in reading about it, please proceed to "The Death of Pol Pot".
Between 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot killed at least 1.7 million of their own people an his attempt to return Cambodia to an communist agrarian society named "year zero". Up to 20,000 of these were held at Tuol Sleng prison and then transported to Choeung Ek for execution. Choeung Ek is now a peaceful site in the countryside outside Phnom Penh, but it is a must see destination to help understand modern Cambodia. See my travelogue for more on this.
On my second visit to Phnom Penh I revisited Choeung Ek and Tuol Sleng with some Canadian friends. The effect on me was still the same as before.
Unfortunately, the Killings Fields will always be associated with Cambodia. The fields are covered over now but you can still see the depressions and mounds as a result of mass burials.
I'm glad to see Cambodia progressing and relatively stable. But as early as 1998, the political situation was dicey, with rigged elections and no real sense of stability...even now the locals don't trust their own
currency and the black market thrives. Also in 1998, tourists where being targeted for crime
and some, including 2 Americans, were killed in Siem Reap. I know these sorts of things occur everywhere but given the
history of this country, it makes it more of a concern.
This former extermination camp, also known as "Choeung Ek", is now a tourist attraction. There is not much left to see, but you can have a closer idea of how horrible that period of Cambodia history (1975-78) was.
It is located outside PP, 12 kms southwest. You can reach it hiring a motorbike or there are some guesthouses that organize tours here too.
In this old mass murder scenery of the Khmer Rouge you can see the nass tombs (just the holes) and a memorial that houses hundreds of bones, clothes, chains...
Entrance 2 USD.
The Friendship Monument and Killing Field Monument.
Killing Fields is situated 15 kilometers south-west of Phnom Penh and made famous by the film of the same name "Killing Field". it was a place where more than 17,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves; many of them transported here after detention and tortured in Toul Sleng. This place is a chilling reminder of the brutalities of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. In the center of the area is a 17 story glass stupa which houses 8000 skulls exhumed from mass graves. Recent news telling that the government will buried the skull to show their respectation to the victims.
Choeung Ek Genocidal Center sits several miles south of the city, in the midst of the provincial countryside. The oaks and willows that grace the meadows and the birds that chirp in their branches belie the tragic history of the place, best known as the Killing Fields.
Here, on the edge of giant pits, Khmer Rouge killers would bludgeon their victims to death then shove them into the mass graves below. 17,000 men, women, and children met their end here.
In the great memorial stupa in the midst of the site, over 8000 skulls, arranged by age and sex, stare out at you, their lifeless sockets speaking of brutal horror.
I didn't take picutres of the skulls. I felt at the time that the image was simply too horrible, too disrespectful. After leaving Choeung Ek, I visited Tuol Sleng, where I finally relented in photographing the map of skulls (seen above). I guess I figured that I couldn't leave Phnom Penh without taking the photo, as tragic as that is.
......to the victims of the Pol Pot regime at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. It is estimated that around 17,000 people were murdered here and walking around the dozens of excavated mass graves is quite chilling.
After our visit to Tuol sleng we went by road out of the city to the "Killing Fields".
It is a beautiful, tranquil place which has been set aside as a memorial to those who died at the hands of the evil regime.
8000 skulls were found inside the stupa of the museum, they were all executed during Pol Pot reigme.
Several mass graves were surrounded the tower. Don't miss a ficus tree that labelled "the executer beat the children".
Located right outside of Phnom Penh are the old Khmer Rouge Killing Fields and Killing Field Museums. These are a must see while im Phnom Penh. They show a harsh reminder to the sad hitorty of the Khmer Rough government from the 1970s. During this time period about 2 million Cambodian citizens were ruthlessly killed by the horrible stalinist-leninist government. This Cambodia Red government blasted Cambodia back into the STONE-AGE. People were forced to move to the countryside and farm, with a gun pointed at their backs. If they made an error they were killed ruthlessly. This was one of the most horrible events in the world, and in my opinion Unca Pol Pot makes the top ten worst people list! These harsh reminders of the Khmer Rouge are a must see.
This is the place where prisioners from the S21 prision were taken to be killed. Rather than waste bullets, the Khmer Rouge clubbed the people to death. Many thousands were killed here. It is located about 17 KM South of the City. You can get there either by taxi, most comfortable or Moto, least comfortable. It cost about $2 US for me on a Moto. there is a $3 entrance fee. Also there is a Stupa with 17 levels of skulls on the grounds. It is a very quiet place and no one says much. Most Cambodians will not go in here.
Fewer than 10 prisoners survived and the last ones who died there after everyone had departed were buried in the grounds in stone white coffin memorials. They had been found shackled to their beds in their cells. Their pictures were taken where they lay and were enlarged and put on the walls of each cell to show people.
Silently amazing. Not unlike the Camps in Germany/Poland. Much smaller but still mind boggling. Something I will never grasp nor in my lifetime will I probably have to, thankfully.
One of the main reasons for my detour to Phnom Penh; this visit will leave a deep impression on anyone.