The Mass Murder by the Khmer Rouge

How did I not know a thing about the Khmer Rouge before going to Cambodia in 2017? How did I not know that millions of Cambodians were tortured and killed by their own country during a communist genocide just 40 years ago?!

Yes, that's right. Only 40 years ago. My parents were already alive during that time, that's how recent this genocide was. 

S-21 (formerly a Cambodian high school) was a torture chamber from 1975 to 1979 for all “corrupt people”. This included educated people, artists, doctors, lawyers, etc. NORMAL PEOPLE! You were even considered a part of this group if you were simply wearing reading glasses. They turning this place into a museum for visitors to see and feel the terror that happened here. 

This is where nearly 20,000 victims were held hostage and tortured.

This is where nearly 20,000 victims were held hostage and tortured.

This is what one of the torture rooms looked like.

This is what one of the torture rooms looked like.

The halls were barb wired in so nobody could jump out and commit suicide.

The halls were barb wired in so nobody could jump out and commit suicide.

You can even still see blood on hallway floors.

You can even still see blood on hallway floors.

The surreal rules the victims needed to adhere to.

The surreal rules the victims needed to adhere to.

After the Khmer Rouge was done torturing their victims and decided it was time for them to die, they brought them to the killing fields. The Killing Fields are located about 20 minutes from S-21. This is where the mass murder of millions of Khmer people took place. The Khmer Rouge would blindfold their victims, drive them over by the truck loads, & blast loud music to mask the sound of their screams. To stand on the grounds where such terror happened was horrifying.

As the sign says, this is where the Khmer Rouge beat and killed children.

As the sign says, this is where the Khmer Rouge beat and killed children.

Each skull showed evidence of cause of death shown. For example, a large crack signifies a smash to the head with a mallet. A small round hole was a bullet to the head. Etc.

Each skull showed evidence of cause of death shown. For example, a large crack signifies a smash to the head with a mallet. A small round hole was a bullet to the head. Etc.

Memoirs for Cambodia

Memoirs for Cambodia

It hurts to know that mankind could do such a painful thing to another human. As a single human race, you would think that we would learn from our mistakes. But do you know the sad part? That history repeats itself. And chances are something like this will most likely happen again. It is up to us to educate ourselves, learn from our mistakes, & spread love/not war. Be the change you want to see in the world.

There is a new film out on Netflix. A powerful film directed by Angelina Jolie, "First They Killed My Father". It is based on a true story by Loung Ung, she was five years old when she experienced the Khmer Rouge and survived. She and her family were forced out of their home in Phnom Penh; Ung was trained as a child soldier while her six siblings were sent to labor camps. Feel the terror, watch the film.

TOTAL COST FOR A DAY IN PHNOM PENH: $42

$6 S-21 entry and audio guide
$6 killing field and audio guide
$15 round trip tuk-tuk ride to both stops
$6 hostel
$2 soup
$7 dinner