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.
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.
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.