Friday 15 January 2016

⨁ the Kingdoms sad past

 when you visit a country 
it's important to know a little of it's history
good and bad
our guide Vannak was 7 years old when his family were told
to leave their home 
he told me 60% of the population now are under 26
there are few old people left

Cambodia's story takes place only 30 years ago
it wasn't a story of war
but of widespread genocide that left the country 
crippled and maimed in a very literal sense

in 1975 the communist political party, the Khmer Rouge, 
was brought to power led by Pol Pot
in the four years they were in power, an estimated 
2 million people were killed  
the population was around 7 million

the Khmer Rouge was a group of radical French educated communists 
who believed that Cambodia should return to the old way
ignoring previous history and returning to Year Zero
 Pol Pot's tyrannical power let to the destruction of the country 
that is still being rebuilt today
under the Khmer Rouge all of the people were moved from the cities 
to the countryside to work the land
  forced to work 12 hours a day with no rest and little food  
people died from starvation and fatigue
  there was no economy, no hospitals, no education, no factories  
the Khmer Rouge wiped out entire villages
 slaughtering and burying them in mass graves  
The Killing Fields 
people were forced to work the land 
the rest were transported to prisons the worst of which was Toul Sleng {S-21}
this old high school was converted into a prison where people were 
photographed, catalogued, tortured, maimed and murdered
prominent figures that could influence society into thinking against the regime were taken here, tortured and eventually murdered
paranoia took over Pol Pot and anyone who was suspected of treason 
was sent to the prison
  he arrested the suspects and their families 
torturing them into confessing whatever they were charged with  
he ruled by fear
 the prison held 100 prisoners at a time and it is estimated around 
20, 000 people were murdered there  
only 7 survived
many prisoners from S21 prison were taken to
 the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek 
as you walk across the ground
you can see pieces of bone, clothing, shoes
revealed in the ground from recent rain
the memorial Stupa 
is filled with the skulls and bones 
of those who died here

the Khmer Rouge was still recognised by Western nations 
as the official government of Cambodia for 10 year after! 
the government put into place by the Vietnamese 
was not acknowledged so Khmer Rouge delegates attended UN meetings  
they were hiding in the jungles of Cambodia 
Pol Pot lived in hiding for 20 years before being put under house arrest  
he later died of unknown causes 
and was never held to account for the atrocities 

No comments:

Post a Comment

☺ thank you for taking the time to leave a comment ~ I might not always reply but they really are valued ☺