Tuesday, 19 March 2013

S21 - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - part 1: a day of eye-opening, horrific history...

Today we awoke early, negotiated a tuk tuk for $2 each for the whole day from the Fatman driver and made our way to the first on our list of sights for today, S21, better known as Tuol Sleng Museum, which is where the Khmer Rouge army/leaders arrested, took and tortured thousands of innocent Cambodians, before killing them either here or later, taken to the Killing Fields.

I am going to present these as a picture blog, with a little history and description in-between. It was today that I realised the shocking crimes of humanity put on the Cambodians, and realised that this only ended 13 years ago (1994 the Vietnamese liberated Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge, 1998 the Civil war that broke out ended and a new government were elected). But Cambodia is still reeling from those 20years of terror today, with UXO (unexploded ordnance) and Landmines still being found or detonating on children and adults alike, famine, malaria outbreaks, poverty and land that is barren due to it being unsafe to farm on. I mean Christ, it was only around 6 years ago that the borders were re-opened to tourists - THAT is how recent this all is!

A little about the war:
The Khmer Rouge was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in Cambodia. It was formed in 1968 as an offshoot of the Vietnam People's Army from North Vietnam. It was the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot. The Khmer Rouge forced around two million people from the cities to the country to take up work in agriculture. They controlled how Cambodians acted, what they wore, whom they could talk to, and many other aspects of their lives. Over the next years, the Khmer Rouge killed many intellectuals, city-dwellers, minority people, and many of their own party members and soldiers who were suspected of being traitors. The Khmer Rouge believed parents were tainted with capitalism, so they separated children from their parents, indoctrinated them in communism, and taught them torture methods with animals. Children were a "dictatorial instrument of the party" and were given leadership in torture and executions. One of their mottos, in reference to the urban civilians, was: "To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss."

S21 - Tuol Sleng School/Genocide Museum:

The rooms in which they were tortured.

                         Harrowing pictures of a mother and newborn baby

The children of S21 and the many faces showing the emotions most faced when coming in - they tell the horrific stories of many.

Photos of the dead after they'd been tortured

 Some of the torture methods used on prisoners...

 Showing the cells they used to keep prisoners in.

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