Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - Pol Pot - The Killing Fields

Viewer discretion advised... the following images are of disturbing content relating to the mass genocide of the Cambodian people. If you don't know the history behind this, I encourage you to read about Pol Pot here and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum here.

I am not sure where to begin, so many emotions have been stirred up its hard to put into words. We visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which is one of the detention centers where pol pot tortured and killed thousands of men, women, and children. I have been to several Holocaust museums but this one by far was more raw in nature and much harder to swallow. The building was originally a school with 3 buildings and 3 floors each. Each one had a different purpose, some for holding space and some with other obvious horrors in mind. The first building has the torturing rooms which were used right up until the Khmer Rouge fell, literally with fresh bodies still chained to the beds. They took photos of the final 14 bodies left, put it in the room in which they were killed and kept the rooms in close conditions to what it had looked like at the time of death. It was so raw and realistic that you could almost smell them. I did everything I could to keep it together as we walked through such a graphic point in history, and even going back and preparing the photos tears were shed. The photos I included are the mild PG-13 ones I thought were suitable to share.

The second part of day we visited "Choeung Ek Memorial" (more commonly called the killing fields). This was a mass grave where they placed about 9,000 bodies after they were tortured and a second site for their brutal acts. Here they murdered children by picking them up by their feet and bashing their heads by swinging them into the side of a tree. They hung up a loud speaker which blared propaganda to drown out the screaming of those being tortured. They have only excavated 10% of the grounds. As you walk you will see clothing and bones sticking up in the dirt beneath your feet. It was beyond heart wrenching.


amancay said...

wow... Bethany, inceridble imagery... very well put together... and otherwise, i truly have no words.

thank you.

amancay said...

aaaand, apparently I'm so flummoxed I can no longer spell "incredible" properly!