Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields

water boarding torture device

rules of Tuol Sleng
The next morning before we left Phnom Penh we went to Tuol Sleng,which is a high school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge. It was awful. And not that long ago. It's amazing how well of a secret it was kept for so long. As Americans, in general, we don't, learn a whole lot about what is going on in other countries, especially politically, but no one really knew a whole lot about this. At least until recently. Shamefully, I've never heard about this until going to Cambodia and even my European friends, at most could say they'd heard the name but didn't know anything about it.

To put it into perspective and how recent this was: there are people my age walking around with torture wounds from these people. Many of the people who did this are still alive-many of them are free men. And the last hearing or trial or something like that was in 2008.

The main guy is at home with his family but very sick, or so reported.

As somewhere it was described, "The murderers were representing their victims at the United Nations for years." (Until like 1998 or something...ugh, again my facts are vague.)

I don't pretend to be very knowledgable on the subject but I can't pretend I wasn't affected, especially when I did see people with the missing fingernails (from having them ripped off as a form of torture) or other ailments caused by the same thing.
Many articles list the end of the Khmer Rouge thirty years ago, but according to Cambodia and the people who lived it, as well at the court dates, those in command were in command a lot later than 1979.
I didn't make it to the Killing Fields so I still lack some serious education on the matter, but it's all very real and not distant enough. There are scars left behind that still sneak up in everyday life.

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