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Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

The Khmer Rouge regime

sunny 33 °C

Written on May 6 for the day of April 27....

  • *** There are some graphic pics here, buyer beware*****

First, let's begin with a bit of history. The Khmer Rouge were a communist party which took power in 1975, until defeated by the Vietnamese in 1979. The country of Cambodia has been in (violent) turmoil from the early 1970 until 1998, thus explaining in great part, the current level of poverty. It is generally stated that the people don't want any war anymore, they want peace and they see, amongst other things, tourism as a great way to develop and enrich their country.

The vision of the Khmer Rouge was apparently to bring the Khmer people (real name, to this day, for Cambodia people) back up to the glory of the Angkor period. To do so, they emptied (literally completely evacuated) Phnom Penh and relocated the people to the country side to grow rice. I read an authobiography called "First they killed my father" of a young girl who was 5yrs old and living in Phnom Penh when the Khmer Rouge took over. She survived, along with 4 of her 6 siblings. Her mother and father died.

There is now a museum on the premises of the Tuol Sleng (also called S-21) prison, where approx 20,000 people where detained, interrogated, tortured and eventually killed. Only 7 people survived, and even during the last minutes, 14 people perished.

Anyone could be arrested and interrogated. Anyone who had worked for the previous government was immediately killed if that was found out. Being different was sufficient to be killed (ex. skin too white, handicapped, educated, etc)
Although officially, everyone was equal, there was apprently 3 categories. People high/middle ranked in the Khmer Rouge regime, the "base people" (people who had always lived in the country side and were therefore not corrupted like city people) and city people. Although they worked hard too, base people apparently had it easier than city people (more food rations, less arbitrary killing). Overall, it is extimated that between 800 000 and 3 000 000people died during the Khmer Rouge regime (suicide, starvation, mass murdering, diseases, the "sources" of death are numerous)

The following is an explanation board at the entrance of the site:

The site is composed of 4, 4 storey buildings, which were originally an elementary and high school. The Khmer Rouge surrounded the property with thick layers of electrified barbwire to prevent anyone from escaping.

These are the rules that were posted throughout the site on the black boards. We can still see the writing in some of the rooms, but it's clearer here. Note: It was written in Khmer and French.

The following 4 pics are to represent the rooms after rooms filled with people's pictures. The Khmer Rouge where quite thorough in their inventory of people with the result that most prisonniers' pic was taken, along with their age and a little biography.




The following pictures are quite "hard core", so you may want to skip. They definitely brought the point across, that's why I chose to put a couple on here. On that note, I was originally not going to take pics of this site at all, but changed my mind, as a picture is worth a thousand word, and it the best reminder possible.

These are mounted in the 14 "interrogation rooms", and is how these people were found at the site.
There are several more graphic paintings (made by a survivor) of the torture methods which I didn't take pics of, as it was just to sick. Think of horrible torture methods and you might be almost there.



Posted by Mistrale 05:42 Archived in Cambodia

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