The Killing Fields of Cambodia

This is my second blog installment covering the genocide that ravaged Cambodia in the 1970’s. Between 1975-1979, an estimated 2 million people were killed at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot. The mass graves of these victims can be found in various locations in the country. The most famous one, Choeung Ek, is found a short drive from Phnom Penh.

At one time these fields contained an orchard and a Chinese graveyard, but during the regime, the fields were used for mass graves. Around 8,900 bodies were found here.

As the weather changes throughout the year and Cambodia is hit with monsoon rains, the rain causes the soil to wash away. Bones, teeth and clothing continue to surface during these times.

A large stupa stands in the middle of Choeung Ek. Inside its glass walls are the skulls of victims. Many of the skulls show fractures indicating how the the person met his or her death.

Most of your walking tour around Choeung Ek is done in silence as you listen to information through a portable audio device. This device also contains the stories from the survivors of the regime. Most, if not all tourists, listen to these stories as they walk around a peaceful pond.

A journey to Choeung Ek is necessary when visiting Cambodia. It is another glimpse into the genocide that occurred during the Khmer Rogue regime. It is a peephole into the sad history of this country, a look into what an evil ambition for power can accomplish.

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