The Killing Fields and Toul Sleng (S-21 Prison)

This morning we visited The Killing Fields and S-21 Prison to explore part of Cambodia’s dark past.

The Cambodian Killing Fields is a burial site located in Choeung Ek where it’s estimated that over 1 million people where killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime during their reign of the country from 1975 to 1979, after the Cambodian civil war until Vietnam invaded the country and toppled the Khmer regime.

During their reign, the Khmer regime arrested and murdered anyone they believed to have had ties with the former government and any one they believed who could possibly be a future threat. This included politicians, and intellectuals as well as women and children.

Some of the mass graves

As tribute and a sign of respect, bracelets are left by visitors on the tree in which children where tortured and beaten to death.

Clothing bins of victims

Around the burial sites are bins in which the clothes of those who were murdered were collected. As the sign states, upon exhumation of the graves during the rain, the clothing floated the the top of the graves.

Killing Fields memorial

In the center of the site is a memorial temple in which some of the victims remains have been placed.

We then took a short ride over to Toul Sleng (aka S-21), a high school that was converted over to a prison to interrogate and torture prisoners before they were shipped to the Killing Fields. Here there were between 12,000 to 20,000 prisoners… And only 12 confirmed survivors.

S-21 prison

Here men, women, and children were tortured to extract information on individuals they deemed as threats.

S-21 Torture room

Here are a list of rules that the prisoners had to abide by.

Memorial state in the prison center.

This one was a difficult one for me. At first I didn’t want to write a post on this but in the end, I felt that I needed to do so. When I began this blog, I wanted to share the beautiful and wonderful things that this planet has to offer. While that is still my goal, I feel as though I have to share the bad things as well. Not all things are puppies and rainbows, we as a human race have done some shitty things to each other. But things like this need to be shared and taught.

My stomach was tight this entire visit. This was my first time visiting a site where Genocide was committed against a population, and it was an absolute horrible feeling. But like I said, we need to learn from this. We as the human race can do better 🌏

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