Pol Pot reigned in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. In this short time he managed to kill a third of the population of Cambodia. A maniacal act of disgrace that was reigning this country with the acceptance of most of the world. Long time after Hitler, when the whole world knew what dictators are capable of doing, the world leaned back and watched how one individual educated in France was capable to kill a third of the population of his own country by blending and lying the public.
Mass graves of Choeung EK and killing fields in Cambodia
Choeung EK is one of the many mass graves and killing fields in Cambodia and one of the most accessible. About 15 kilometers south of Phnom Penh lays this memorial, which has a towering monument where over nine thousand human skulls are piled up and cataloged. The monument should remember visitors of 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took over the country.
When walking around the place you get an audio guide that explains the story. Survivors and people who were in charge back then tell their side of the story. A very touching story and very detailed. You will pass the many mass graves where you can still see cloths from the victims and you will pass many other travelers who are crying their eyes out while listening to their stories.
The Khmer Rouge slaughtered more than 17.000 of their countrymen in this “killing field” within 4 years.
The Killing Tree: Infants were thrown against the tree to break their head
Pol Pots was so paranoid that he ordered to kill the whole educated class from Cambodia – doctors, teachers, lawyers, professors, engineers and many others – which was targeted with precision. Anybody with glasses was on the list. The killing of millions is a loss from which the country still suffers.
The past is history, today is more important!
I am happy that I went to see this place and that I learned more about this country and its past. It makes you appreciate it much more. Anybody over 40 nowadays has experienced this tragedy and when you talk to them they agree that it was a terrible time but that it belongs to the past and that only today is important. They somehow accepted what happened and are ready to move on. They are happy and love to laugh. An incredible folk these Cambodians and just being around them for a few days taught me a lot about how to see things in life.
The many graves of Choeung EK
Have you ever been there? How was it for you? Were you also traumatized afterwards?