S21 Toul Sleng Prison &Choeng Ek (Killing Fields)

Trip Start May 17, 2009
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Trip End Dec 21, 2009


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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

From 1975 to 1979, under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, millions of Cambodians were slaughtered as Pol Pot, Brother Number One, sought to cleanse Cambodia of all western influence and create the communist ideal.

All the cities were evacuated, learned members of the community were put to death and all were forced into a lifestyle of poverty, starvation and labour.

Toul Sleng or S21 as it is known was originally a school but become the scene of incarceration, torture and death for some 20000 men, women and children.

The leader of that prison, El Duch, is currently under trial here in Phnom Penh.

Just outside Phnom Penh, at Choeng Ek, prisoners were trucked into what become known as the Killing Fields. Pits dot the fields, each one the resting place of hundreds of slaughtered innocents.  Bullets were scarce so bodies were hacked, beheaded or left to be consumed by chemicals that were thrown onto them in the pits.  Babies were held by the ankles and swung against tree trunks.

Many pits are still to be exhumed, but the original pagoda has been converted to a home for thousands of skulls already retrieved.

Hard to understand how these things happen…. And continue to happen.

From 1975 to 1979, under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, millions of Cambodians were slaughtered as Pol Pot, Brother Number One, sought to cleanse Cambodia of all western influence and create the communist ideal.

All the cities were evacuated, learned members of the community were put to death and all were forced into a lifestyle of poverty, starvation and labour.

Toul Sleng or S21 as it is known was originally a school but become the scene of incarceration, torture and death for some 20000 men, women and children.

The leader of that prison, El Duch, is currently under trial here in Phnom Penh.

Just outside Phnom Penh, at Choeng Ek, prisoners were trucked into what become known as the Killing Fields.  Pits dot the fields, each one the resting place of hundreds of slaughtered innocents.  Bullets were scarce so bodies were hacked, beheaded or left to be consumed by chemicals that were thrown onto them in the pits.  Babies were held by the ankles and swung against tree trunks.

Many pits are still to be exhumed, but the original pagoda has been converted to a home for thousands of skulls already retrieved.

Hard to understand how these things happen…. And continue to happen.
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