Friday, December 28, 2012

Phnom Penh 3 Killing Fields (12/28/2012)

Still Friday, December 28, 2012
Our afternoon shore excursion began at 14:00. This time we were back in motorcoaches to drive the 17 km/10.5 miles to Choeung Ek, a former orchard and Chinese graveyard.
Choeung Ek are one of the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge, who managed to kill about 1/5 of their country's population between 1975 and 1979.
None of this can truly be comprehended in visiting Choeung Ek, with the quiet grounds marked with a modern memorial pagoda:
The plexiglass windows allow you to see some of the 5,000 skulls of the victims that were buried here:
The bodies were exhumed from multiple mass burial sites:
The remains of a Chinese grave shows the original use of the grounds:
Apparently children were killed by beating them to death against a tree; here is a "killing tree:"
A mass grave for women and children:
Braided bracelets have become the prayer ribbons of Choeung Ek:
Plexiglass boxes hold bones and clothing of the victims:
So I guess we were about ready to go into the pagoda:
For a closer look at the skulls:
Oh, some were marked as to age and gender, and many were smashed in. To save on bullets, these victims were reportedly killed by iron bar, pickaxe, machetes, etc.
The motorcoaches took us back into town, to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum:
Formerly a high school, the Khmer Rouge turned it into Security Prison 21 (S-21):
The last seven victims of S-21 are buried in the courtyard:
Building A;
housed the large cells where the last victims were found:
The "gallows:"
Originally exercise equipment for students, it became a tool of torture.
Building B:
now displays thousands of photographs of the victims:
Male and female, of all ages, since usually the prisoner and his entire family were executed.
Building C is covered with barbed wire:
It contained the smaller cells built in the classrooms:
There was still a chalkboard:
Looking out through razor wire:
This sign for "No laughing" was not necessary:
Building D housed a small memorial:
A photo of the infamous "Skull Map" which has since been dismantled:
Okay, people of the world, are we going to let things like this continue to happen?
On the way back to the RV Indochina, we passed this statue:
It is Samdech Chuon Nath (1883-1969), a Buddhist scholar whose achievements include conserving the Khmer language by compiling a Khmer dictionary, and he composed the national anthem.

After dinner we had a folkloric dance performance by Cambodian children:
Tomorrow, Cruising the Mekong.

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