Phonm Penh and the gruesome truth (parental consent is advised)
Oct 1, 2011
|We have left Siem Reap along with Jennifer and the flooding. Although we could not see much land for a very long time (apart from the road).
It would be a shame to rush on back to Vietnam without stopping in Phnom Penh.
For those who have a strong background in History(not Ric) (or just a good memory) then they will know what the Khmer Rouge means.
During our short stay here, we did what everyone expects of us. We visited both the Tuol Sleng Museum and the killing fields (not in that order).
The museums are there for remembrance, unlike the Vietnamese ones we have seen which tended to be a one sided view, these were not shy in telling the truth.
Tuol Sleng otherwise known as S21, is a once school come prison. It was the largest of its sort under the Pol Pot regime. Anyone and all were unlawfully accused and sent to this prison, subsequently tortured (into confessing whatever they wanted them to confess to) and then moved out to Choeung Ek (The killing fields) to be removed from whatever society Pol Pot was trying to create.
The museum is set right in the very rooms that these people lived (or died). Most of the rooms have been left exactly a they were found, including beds/chairs/ammo-crates (buckets). The details grew more horrifying because when the Vietnamese liberated Phnom Phen, they stumbled across Tuol Sleng and found several prisoners (14) left behind already dead. They took several photos which now hang from the very rooms they took place in, along with some of the equipment. A very realistic museum. Only 7 people are known to have passed through the prison alive. One of the survivors was there trying to sell his book.
We also went to the killing fields. It was here where the prisoners were taken to be executed and not in humane ways. There are estimated 17,000-20,000 skeletons to be fund in the killing fields, found in different pits, depending on the manner of the execution.
When the pits were excavated 30 years ago, all the bones were stored under a wooden hut nearby. Since, they have created a concrete pagoda which houses the majority of the bones, another gruesome way to hold remembrance for those who suffered.
These were just one pair of prison and killing field, as there were hundreds across the country.