In an earlier blog post I mentioned the killing fields and that I would post images. I would like to say again that I am posting these because this is an era in our lifetime that should not be forgotten. On comparison it is just as bad as what the Nazi's did; some say it is even worse because these were Pol Pot's own people. You hear a lot about Hitler and the Nazi's but you don't hear much about the Khmer Rouge. Just over 30 years ago the Khmer Rouge emptied out Phnom Penh and started the killing of all educated people and their families. Today Cambodia is still struggling to pick up the pieces and educate and train it's people.
Midnight Oil sang a song called the "Forgotten Years." The chorus of this song now reminds me of what I have seen:
The hardest years, the darkest years, the roarin’ years, the fallen years
These should not be forgotten years
The hardest years, the wildest years, the desperate and divided years
We will remember, these should not be forgotten years
Some of the following images may shock you but like the chorus above says, these should not be forgotten.
In my first post I wrote of the Ironic beauty of the place. These particular killing fields are in a very beautiful area. It is sad to know that under that water are more mass graves.
This was my guide. He is a year older than me and one of the lucky ones. His family were already farmers, but even that didn't stop some from being taken the Killing Fields
This image is of the shackles that would go onto peoples ankles. There would be many one iron bar. The image after this is my guide demonstrating how they worked. It amazes me that he was so calm doing it but then he told me it was to help people to remember.
This is the start of the mass graves. There is a designated dirt track to follow but even then I realised I was walking on bones.
Every now and then you would see teeth or bone coming out of the path you were walking on. Clothes also were making their way to the surface.
At the base of this tree you can see some of the clothes that have been moved off the path. The explanation about this tree is below. My guide told me though that people living in the area were not stupid and they knew what was going on here.
This is the tree I mentioned in my earlier blog about the children. If trees could cry I am sure this one would have withered and died.
The children were picked up by the ankles ....
This grave was reserved for those Soldiers who turned against the Khmer Rouge. They had a particularly slow and torturous death as an example to any other soldier who turned. If you have ever seen a banana tree the leaf prong has a relatively sharp edge. This is what was used to decapitate them.
Another grave, mainlly women and children
They didn't believe in using bullets.
Not everyone died instantly. Some were unconscious as they were thrown into the grave.
In the 80's a flood unearthed a lot of the graves. This memorial was built to house the skulls that were found. I believe it also has something to do with a Buddhist belief but I was unsure what my guide was saying.
This was just the morning. In the afternoon I went to Toul Sleng (not sure of the spelling). It was the prison people were tortured for 12 months to give up their families and co-conspirators. I will put that in a separate blog.