Friday, December 8, 2006

The Killing Fields

Before I arrived in Cambodia I searched for what it could possibly mean. C-A-M-B-O-D-I-A: Jungle - Hot - Asia - Viet Nam - Pol Pot - Genocide - The Killing Fields.

We arrive at the Genocide Museum, which is one long U-shaped building, with torture rooms and prisoner cells. We are in downtown Pehnom Penh. I proceed to go through a very eye opening experience. The estimates indicate that more than 2 million people were murdered under Pol Pot's regime. This was about a third of their total population. And all for the quest for a Utopian, Communist society. All of the educated were singled out and killed, along with their families and anyone they had any relations with. To stay alive, you had to be either a factory worker or a farmer.

I walk down the hallway and look at the photographs of those that were tortured and killed. I wonder how one is born into a certain position in life. Who we are, and why?

We watch an incredible documentary and gain more insight into the horror.

They pulled out fingernails of prisoners. They dunked them until near drowning, and then hanged them. They kept prisoners shackled together, connected to long iron bars.

Did you know that the leaders of of the Khmer Rouge still have yet to be tried? The politics is driven by corruption.

We depart the museum and I am approached by a man with one leg begging for money. Another man approaches Ryan. He face is so horribly disfigured that it is painful to look at him. My heart sinks with blessing toward these people.

We travel to the Killing Fields. Our dialogue has become very philosophical. We are deep into contemplating the place we are in, and the thick history.

We see the locations of the mass murders and how it all went down. Stories are told by our tour guide, who is still afraid to have anything recorded. The place feels eerie.

"Pol Pot Bad Man. VERY bad Man."

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