Over the three weeks that we stayed in Phnom Penh, Jared and I got out several times to explore the city. If you know anything about Cambodia, you know that it’s had a gruesome past. In effort to understand the culture, Jared and I made a trip to visit Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, and the Killing Fields.
Toul Sleng, also known as S-21, was a school-turned-prison by the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970’s. Seeing all of pictures and reading the stories put us both in a very somber mood.
We also visited some of the Killing Fields located near the city of Phnom Pehn. Civilian prisoners were taking from S-21 in truck loads and dropped off at these fields. The Khmer Rouge would then execute them and place their bodies in mass graves.
As we walked through the fields, we noticed that bones were still surfacing from the ground.
Here you can see pictures of bones which have surfaced from one of the mass graves. In the above picture, it is easy to make out three bones which have surfaced since the grounds keepers last collected them.
After doing some forensic investigation to find out the approximate age and gender of the owners, these skulls were all stored in glass cases for people to see. Many of them have distinct marks from machetes, are cracked in half, or have bullet holes through them.
It is still hard to believe that approximately 2 million of the 7 million people in this country were ruthlessly murdered under the reign of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge… and that this all happened from 1975-1979!
Walking through Cambodia’s recent history was difficult, but it helped us better understand why Cambodia is where it’s at today.