Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – the name says it all

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It might be quite easy to imagine the place right after hearing that name, a land consist a massive amount of innocent Cambodians, men, women, children or infants, their body, their clothes and blood all over the ground, a horrible view and how strange it is as now the fields of death and obsession is a tourist attraction.

Although we know that what passed just let it pass, and now that tourist attraction is one memory for us to recall the history. But we should know a little bit about it. The Killing Fields of Cambodia refers to the genocide, took place in Cambodia after the takeover of power by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime.  At that time, they were in power for four years until 1979 when the Vietnamese, who were engaged in an often violent border dispute with the Khmer Rouge, finally invaded in force and seized power from the Khmer Rouge.

The killing field

That genocide in Cambodia was unique.  Out of a population of approximately 7 million, about 2 million Cambodians were systematically exterminated, starved, or worked to death by the Khmer Rouge government. Or they were often bludgeoned to death to avoid wasting precious bullets. Over 25% of the Cambodian people died under the hands of the Angkar.

The killing field

The remains of 8985 people, many of whom were bound and blindfolded, were exhumed in 1980 from mass graves in a longan orchard; 43 of the 129 communal graves here have been left untouched. Fragments of human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. More than 8000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988. It is a peaceful place today, masking the horrors that unfolded here several decades ago.

People skulls

Nowadays, visiting the killing fields is one way to observe a part of history, and also to show the respect to people who lied down many years ago on that land. Somehow the pain and the obsession still exist, but what happened in the past created our world today. And for almost everyone, the curiosity always urges us to get to know our huge world!

Nora Tran

Images source: Internet

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