*Sorry for my absence. I was on a trip to Cambodia and didn’t have a chance to blog while I was there.*
During a recent trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I had the privilege (if you can say that) to visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The museum is housed in a former high school that was used by the Pol Pot regime as a security prison during his 1975-1979 reign.
The genocide that he oversaw on the people of Cambodia was horrific and yet mostly unknown in the western world because of its overshadowing by the Vietnam war, which happened before it. In all, about 2 million people perished under Pol Pot’s iron and brutal fist. Many of them died at Tuol Sleng.
These people were murdered for being doctors, teachers, nurses, etc… Anyone who did not fit with Pol Pot’s plan to turn the country into a completely agricultural state met their demise.
One of the ladies who took us there was a teenager at the time of the dictatorship. She lost grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters. Basically her entire family. It was difficult to hear her story and see the freshness of that experience in her watery eyes.
I wouldn’t call it a privilege to visit this site of inhumane treatment. Though I do feel a trip to Cambodia isn’t complete without meeting its history head-on in Tuol Sleng. Without knowing Cambodia’s history its difficult to understand its current state. It will also make you appreciate the friendly Khmer people all the more.