Skulls and killing fields

Trip Start Jul 13, 1988
1
23
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Trip End Jul 03, 2010


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Flag of Cambodia  , Phnum Pénh,
Sunday, August 26, 2007

Unfortunately we didnt have much more time in Siem Riep as we had some
errands and a flight to catch to Phnom Phen, which is the capital of Cambodia.
Phnom Phen is a very poor, run down and polluted city with about 2 million
people. There were a million mopeds and bikes and mostly everyone were wearing
masks to shield their mouths from pollution and dirt. We saw lots of beggars and
people missing limbs crawling on the streets begging...one guy was also blind, I
dont know how he made it through each day in that traffic being blind and having
no legs. Awful! These are victims of land mines which is still a problem in
rural Cambodia although the majority of the
mines have been removed.
 
By the time we got settled it was evening and we decided to just lay low
and have dinner. There are a lot of bars and restaurants along the Mekong River, but we decided to just eat near the hotel.
Had a nice dinner for 2. The bill; 5.50 USD!
 
Next day we had rented a driver to take us around. What a depressing day
this turned out to be. Cambodia experienced a similar genocide as the holocaust
from 1975-79, that somehow has gone unnoticed by the rest of the world. Very
strange as 2-3 million Cambodians were tortured and executed  for no reason
under Pol Pots Khmer Rouge regime. He just decided to do what Hitler did, and no
one to this day can explain why this happend.
 
A former High School was turned into a prison and torture chamber that they
named S-21. Random people men, women and children of all classes and professions
were taken here. We got to walk through S-21at our leisure and it was really
creepy. We walked through the torture rooms that still had the torture equipment
and the tiny cells that all had chains on the floor, and a couple of rusty
waterbowls here and there. People were photographed on arrival, completely
undressed and chained to the cell floors. All the photographs were displayed in
a room and then there were plenty of chilling torture photos as well.
 
After the prisoners were done at the S-21 they were taken to whats now
referred to as "The Killing Fields". Used to be an
old Chinese cementary but was made into an execution ground and mass graves. There were various ways
of killing the people once they got here, some were buried alive, some beaten to
death with shovels, some shot and there was a tree where the babies were killed.
They held them in the feet and slammed them against this tree. As you can
understand this was very disturbing to see, but I also think important as most
of the world is not aware of this holocaust. There was a memorial stupa that had
stories and stories of skulls and you could see on the skull whether the person
was killed by a bullet or a shovel beating. Around and in the mass graves there
were still pieces of clothing and remnants of bones laying around. This
experience is one that I want to forget but wont anytime soon. 
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