Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pol Pot's Regime, The Killing Fields.

We are up early as usual and prepare to go visit the Kiilling field near Phom Penh, I think know quite a bit about this regime of death because I have read some articles about it at home, but nothing can prepare you for the reality of two million people massacred by their own countrymen and the most gruesome ways  they could think of. A little bit of knowledge is not the same as being faced with the evidence.
We are taken by bus to the fields, as we walk through the gates we see in front of us a tall structure full of shelves full of skulls, mostly damaged skulls, layer after layer of them hundreds to a layer, so many.

But first of all we are led to a sign, that explains what was there before.Like Sam we bow our heads when we read these signs.       Respect.
The sign tells how a building was constructed here of corrigated iron and timber, darkened and with no windows and loud music playing, so folk could not see or hear what was going on before them, because more people were being sent here in greater numbers than the killers could dispose of. They killed about 300 a day every day. Men and women were first made to dig deep holes that were to be their mass graves, then they had to kneel on the edge  and were knocked on the back of their heads with whatever the killers could lay their hands on at the time. These knocks were not meant to actually kill only to hurt and to make them fall into the pits. Deep in the pits men were waiting them to cut their Achilles tendons and slit their wrists before finally sawing through their necks with not a knife or a saw but a piece of a type of fern tree with particularly nasty spikes and thorns that could be used to saw and hack. And so the poor people were slain by their countrymen.
Next sign tells where the shed was that was filled with many types of weapon for killing.
As we were told, no bullets were wasted here.
We are in a large field with many deep depressions where the ground has sunken in. There is a glass cabinet full of recently found bones and clothes that continue to make their way up out of the ground and are collected and kept.

There are a number of of these depressions fenced around and with lots of red Blessing bracelets hanging on them.

There is one that all the bodies were found without heads, because these were men of high rank well known to towns people, so their heads were stuck on poles along the streets to scare the general population.

Another is a mass grave of at least 450 men.

Another is the mass grave of women, all of who were found naked. The poor ladies were not only humiliated and killed but also violated and abused.

Finally we are shown a big tree bent over in shame and covered with red and white Blessing bracelets,  so it looks like the tree is sweating blood. here the guards killed the children, by smashing them against this tree which had big nails stuck in it at the time, until they died.
This tree upset all of us so
very much, there were many tears and prayers for the souls.

Please don't imagine this is the only place these atrocities took place, they happened all over the country. This is just where most are remembered.
Even in the previous town we visited yesterday a town of 3,500 odd people, everyone but 2 people were killed in a wild killing spree when the regimes men roared into the town and hacked everyone to pieces with machetes.The town has recovered, but isn't likely to forget.


Jo said...

Glennis I remember when these atrocities took place; one forgets until you see a monument as you show here. Blessings Jo

merike said...

Man is an animal

Roan said...

I remember hearing about this. So sad!

L. D. said...

The elderly Cambodians in my church tell the story that they escaped by hiding in a river and floating among dead bodies until they made it to Thailand. Those who are in our church are all in 70's and older. On man squatted against a wall at the church with me and he said to me I miss Cambodia every single day. He died of cancer a year ago. One of my classmate in elementary served in Phenom Phen.

Cloudia said...

Knowing is not facing. Quite right, dear! Excellent post on an important place.

ALOHA from Honolulu
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