Phnom Penh, Cambodia
11° 33' N 104° 54' E
Jan 11, 2008 06:48
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Pol Pot & The Khmer Rouge

The day after I arrived, I visited the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum.  Both equally disturbing and chilling.   The fields are nothing like I expected.  As you approach the entrance you're overwhelmed by a tower full of 800 skulls.  There's a glass cabinet that layers and layers of skulls.. most of which still have some teeth in them (for some reason that made it feel more real to me).   You take off your shoes before you approach the tower as a mark of respect.  At the very bottom of the tower are piles of clothes that have been gathered from the field.  I took a walk around the field and read landmark signs they had describing what was situated where, like the hut where all the ankle chains and beating instruments were kept.  Very eerie.   As I walked around I could see bones and clothes poking up through the hard, trodden ground.  There was a large tree called the 'Magic Tree' i'm not sure what relevance the name had to it's use but they would hang large speakers from the thick branches to drown out the sounds of moaning and screaming of the dying.  

After the grounding experience of the Killing Fields I vistied the Genocide Museum in the city centre.  It was once a school that the Khmer Rouge had turned into a prison that housed thousands of Cambodians that were later taken to the fields and killed.  The museum has paintings that depict the torture methods they used on the prisoners.. some of which looked awful.  They had the actual instruments on display and many sat in the middle of the room with no barrier around them.  I found it very disturbing. You were able to walk around the cells that consisted of very roughly put together brick walls that had been built in the classrooms.  The cells were so small.. I doubt a man of average height could have fully stretched out in them.  The outside walls were covered in barbed wire also.   The walls were covered in pictures of the prisoners and eventual victims of Pol Pot & The Khmer Rouge.

The front ground was a stark constrast though, with lush green grass and a gold statue in the centre.


Photos / videos of "Pol Pot & The Khmer Rouge ":

The tower that stands in the centre of the Killing Fields - it holds 800 skulls of those who died under Pol Pot's reign The skulls Again A sign marking the spot where the prisoners were transported to Another sign that marked where prisoners were detained A sign that marked where the chemicals they used were kept A mass grave.  The sign reads 'for those without heads' The tree where children were beaten to death The tree they hung the speaker from Clothes in the ground from buried bodies Clothes at the bottom of the 'Magic Tree' Bones begining to come through the earth Again Bones that have been collected, along with a jar of teeth Teeth The Genocide Museum A picture of the Killing Fields, as they were The courtyard of the Museum A picture of a gunshot wound to the head Result of a killing with a blunt object Graffiti from when it operated as a prison The skulls and bones from the fields Bodies at the fields A torture device A painting depciting how the device was used. Another depiction of a torture device The actual torture device Torture tools they used on the prisoners Pol Pot The prison cells that were built into the old class rooms The were so small Writing on the wall of a cell The prison rooms Prison walls covered in barbed wire