Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Killing Fields



Still rather stunned by the haunting scenes at S-21, we proceeded in the late afternoon to Choeung Ek. It was here that after being detained and tortured at S-21, enemies of the Khmer Rouge were transported, executed, and buried. Our guide told us that the site was once a Chinese cemetery, a perfect guise for continued burying, albeit at a vastly larger scale. On what appeared to be a slightly postmarked landscape (there are around 130 identified mass graves, of which about a third have been exhumed), small signs revealed the horrors that took place here. One had contained the remains of over 100 women and children, the majority of whom were naked; another had 450 victims; still another contained bodies without heads. 

From the branches of a large tree hung a loudspeaker, whose increasing volume of sound served to drown out the moaning and shrieks of those being executed. Flowers were placed against a tree against which babies were slammed. Even on the pathways, fragments of cloth and teeth protruded from the ground. A glass Memorial Stupa erected in 1988 served as a very vivid reminder of the horrors that took place here. Spanning over 12 levels were the skulls of nearly 9,000 victims clearly visible for all to see. A large collection of clothing gathered from the graves, including a pair of a young child's shorts, further humanized the memorial. 

2 comments:

Bibi said...

Incredible...no comment for me; you've said it all.

Have you seen the film "The Killing Fields"?

Melissa Enderle said...

No I haven't. It sounds like a very powerful movie.