Monday, July 26, 2010

...THE DARKEST OF NIGHTS


Cambodia, one of the most horrific modern day examples of a people's government becoming their own worst enemy... in this case displaying the dark side of Communism, indeed the darkest side of human nature.
On April 17, 1975 the Communist Party of Kampuchea took control of Cambodia and ruled tyrannically until January, 1979. Within days of the takeover, they evacuated the entire city of Phnom Pehn, convincing over two million residents that the Americans were going to bomb the city. After being coerced to the countryside, the entire country's population underwent a forced transformation to agricultural work, depriving everyone of all basic human rights. Thousands died who couldn't keep up. Anyone who resisted or in any way represented a threat to the movement was killed. The Khmer Rouge implemented their radical Maoist-Leninist program at this time. They abolished money, free markets, normal schooling, private property, foreign clothes, religious practices and traditional Khmer culture. People were forbidden to show the slightest affection, humor or pity. Nearly, two million people died during the reign of terror by the Khmer Rouge.
We have a hard time comprehending how anyone could exercise such brutality on their own countrymen. Cambodians are still trying to understand just how it all came down and deal with heartache, memories and personal loss.
On our recent trip through the country, we visited the infamous 'Killing Fields' of Choeung Ek and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Pehn. I asked our guide why they open these sites up to visitors and was told it was to honor those who died here, to serve as a reminder and hopefully deter it from ever happening again. I am sorry for the graphic pictures, but I post them in hope of serving a good purpose...


Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (one of the many 'Killing Fields' in Cambodia) where more than 10,000 were put to death...

One of the few pictures remaining of Pol Pot...
Signs posted on the grounds describing the gruesome events which occurred here...
(click on the pic for a larger version to read the inscriptions)


Here is Sok, one of the grounds keepers speaking to our group. He was part of the crew which initially discovered this particular killing field and excavated the proof. In 1973 he lost part of his right arm in a Khmer Rouge bombing attack in Northern Cambodia.

Bone fragments, teeth and clothing still rise to the surface after heavy rains...
This is Eng Veng, our gracious and informative guide. As a 3 year old boy, he ate rats which his father trapped at night in order to stay alive!
Here he is explaining the layout of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, S-21... A converted high school, it served as a detention-torture prison, the last stop for all prisoners before either a torturous death or being shipped to the killing fields for extermination.









Many pictures of the unfortunate inmates and files were left behind when the authorities had to flee abruptly in 1979...








For he who avenges blood remembers;
he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted...
Ps. 9:12

Tom

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