Traveling is a passion and one of the most beautiful things you can do but every now and then you are being confronted with the horrible past of a country.
I love traveling in Asia, most of the time history shows itself from her best side, temples, shrines, statues and even nature that was formed during thousands of years.
Visiting famous places in Cambodia like Ankor Wat, Ankor Tom or Ta Prohm shows excactly that, incredible architecture combined with heroic stories, you will feel like you are walking on a movie set and in some cases thats even true (tomb raider for instance)
But what I really remember from my visit to Cambodia are the Tuol Sleng museum and Choeung Ek, better known as the Killing fields. Results of a communist party, with its Khmer Rouge military and its leader Pol Pot
The Khmer Rouge , was the name given to Cambodian (Khmer) communists (rouge, French for red) and later the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in Cambodia who infamously carried out the Cambodian genocide
1.5 - 3 million people were killed, about 25% of the Cambodia's population.
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a museum in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The site is a former high school which was used as Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979
They used this site to torture and execute prisoners and if you read the "rules"you can imagine how terrible this place has been.
The classrooms were used as torturing rooms. The torture system at Tuol Sleng was designed to make prisoners confess to whatever crimes they were charged with by their captors.
The bloody footsteps that soaked in to the tiles and are still visible were pretty shocking, they used torturing techniques like: waterboarding, electric shocks, suffocation with plastic bags, beating and many more.
Some "classrooms" were devided in to small cells, it must have been a nightmare here.
The mugshots of the victims were heartbreaking, especially those of the children.
Out of an estimated 17,000 people imprisoned at Tuol Sleng, there were only seven known survivors and about 170 people were released for several reasons.
Choeung Ek is one of the killing fields were more then a million people were killed. Walking around this place gives you the shivers, you still feel death is present.
You can see the holes in the ground were they found all the bodies, you are literally walking inbetween mass graves.
Most shocking is the killing tree, they used it to beat children to death.
Every time there is heavy rain, more bone fragments and pieces of clothing are washed up out of the dirt.
the picture i took of the pieces of cloths and the tiny little flower growing next to it as a sign of hope tells the story....i really mean it if i tell you i didnt sleep good for a while after visiting this place.
I normally write happy stories, adventures, with a wink and a smile. That doesnt mean i only see good things in the world and therefor a good reason to tell this sad story as well.
Cambodia is a very poor country, combined with these horrible stories very different from many other countries in Asia.
It gave me a bitter taste in my mouth and like i said its hard to forget the cruelness and only think of the beauty Cambodia has to offer. I am grateful to all the kind Cambodian people i met and i am very impressed how this country moved on, there may be scars but i also saw a lot of smiles.
Thank you for reading my blog, most probably a happy story in my next blog again!
Note: all pictures taken by myself.
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