Thursday, March 25, 2010

Phnom Penh (Cambodia): Just a Short Look At The Killing Field

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

I hesitated writing this blog entry and thought it is too brutal to write about.But as the very purpose of why the structures are kept in existence in Phnom Penh, Cambodia - displaying the poignant agonies during the war and Khmer Rouge history - so that the atrocities will never be repeated,I am including a rather short entry.

Our visit to the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21) and Choeung Ek Memorial (The Killing Field)
last March 21, 2010 was brief,but not as short as the reign of the ultra-Communist Khmer Rouge regime which controlled the whole of Cambodia (then known as the 'Democratic Kampuchea' from April 17, 1975 until January 7, 1979.The Khmer Rouge was headed by Saloth Sar, who went by the nom de guerre Polpot and responsible for the horrific killing of the two and a half million Cambodians.

Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21) serves as a museum, a memorial and a testament of the madness of the Khmer Rouge regime. Prior to 1975, Toul Sleng was a high school compound with several classroom buildings.During the Khmer Rouge reign, they converted it to a prison and interrogation facility called S-21. Inmates at the prison were held in tiny brick cubicles and systematically tortured to extract desired confessions, and after that the victim was executed at the killing field, Choeung Ek,outside the facility.

Choeung Ek Memorial (The 'Killing Field') is one of the killing fields around the country.It is a group of mass graves,killing areas and memorial stupa containing thousands of human skulls and bones.Prior to 1975, the Choeung Ek just outside of Phnom Penh was an orchard and a Chinese cemetery.But during the Khmer Rouge regime the area became one of the infamous killing fields. The 17,000 men, women and children who perished under the Khmer Rouge regime ended up dumped in this killing field.

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