A dark spot in Cambodia's history continues to be remembered throughout the country but nowhere is the reminder more brutal than at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Cheong Ek. We wondered if we should bring Alex to these places with some of the images displayed being gruesome but with a simplified explanation of the Khmer Rouge and skipping some of the photos, she wasn't too upset by the visit but felt affected enough to continue asking why they were doing this to the people of their country.
This was a former high school turned into the infamous security prison or S-21. From 1975 to 1979 about 17,000 people had been imprisoned here. Torture to coerce prisoners to reveal names of friends, associates and family members as well as association with the former ruling party were commonplace and often ended in deaths.
|Classroom used to torture and imprison|
|Items left in the torture room|
|Cells made in the classrooms|
|Khmer Rouge documented every prisoner admitted to S-21|
Seventeen kilometers outside Phnom Penh is Choeng Ek, where detainees at S-21 were often transferred and finally put to death. A poignant audio guide takes you through one of the "Killing Fields". After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, mass graves were found containing up to 8,900 bodies. Today, a Buddhist stupa filled with human skulls stands as a reminder of the atrocities that occurred there and the healing that continues to take place.
|Gate surrounding a women and children's mass grave|