Tuol Sleng and Cheoung Ek, Cambodia
As a teen I remember – on the edges of my memories and awareness – The Pol Pot regime and death, but never until today realised the context or scope of that four tear reign of terror. Evil, cruel, horrific are words to be used about the man who ruled and those who acted on his orders… how oneperson can so hurt another is beyond my comprehension.
Hundreds of skulls piled higher and higher of the just from Tuol Sleng!
I was near to tears,hand over my mouth in abject horror of the regme and its victims – 2,000,000 over four years, in 76 or so compounds with Phnom Penn S-21 for VIP torturing, be that politicians, engineers, western journalists, women and their children. Some pictures of young boys and girls, numbers on their chest with pins including into skin at times, and fear, pain or dejection on their faces…
So many. And so many skulls showing holes of how they died from bludgeoning mainly, some a bullet hole to the top of the head if they were lucky.
A cell only big enough to lie in, with a food dish for rice grains you could count or ‘soup’ made of leaves
My guide, ‘Peter’, supposedly lost father, sister and two brothers to the regime. He seems the right age to have worked the fields at 8, separated from his mother until liberation by the Vietnamese, almost four years later. His sister worked the fields but dies from multiple rapes and beating as was apparently the norm, his brother at 19 arrested and taken away never to be seen, as his father too. His other brother died of starvation, whilst he bears the scar of a beating for falling down at work, a scar on his eyebrow from a bamboo stick, after being ‘called over’ which most certainly was not good!
A most harrowing tour of a school turned prison and torture centre, shckles and metal beds, chan and key rings alongside cells only enough for a small person to stretch put on the foor and lie arms by their side. With wooden walls and doors with square opening to be watched or brick cell with no door but no speaking allowed …
A survivors painted memories and stories of the atrocities he witnessed in his three months..and more skulls
Torture tools and horrible pictures of prisoners, before, during and after – I dont know how they survived as long as they did from those pictures. And why? One man’s tyranny and pretend paranoia of spies as an excuse to experiment, demean and hurt fellow human beings…just horrific he got away to die a natural death, even though two of his party who ran the. centres are only just being tried and convicted in
2010-12. Two of the seven survivors rescued at the end, are there daily to share their stories in books or answer questions at 79 and 85 years old, and along with five children including two babies, hidden amongst the stored clothes when soldiers found them as shown in a photo taken, I think, by one of three foreign journalists allowed to document the place as it was found. Records, photos, tools and bodies killed just before, as they left.
The next day I visited the Killing Fields, where thousands were taken three times a day to be killed, buried bodies layer upon layer. A Monument, as in the other areas, houses the bones and skulls of many of them.