Tales From A Broad

My year of teaching English in Japan is up. Next mission: backpack Asia before going home to the U.S.A. Currently HOME!





Asia's Holocaust

After the temples of Angkor Wat, I take the morning bus to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Phen. I befriended Tony, an Ozzie guy who recently quit his job as a nurse at a prison and had went to Cambodia to do a 10-day meditation course. Needless to say, he had some interesting stories. He also introduced me to his friend Chris, an English guy who had just finished his job teaching English in Cambodia. The three of us ended up spending our days in crazy Phnom Phen together.

Some of the 2 million genocide victims.

We went to the genocide museum in Phnom Phen to witness the horror of Cambodia's past. The Khmer Rouge was the brutal military in power during the 70's. They were an extreme communist government convinced that they had to kill off any "traitors," which was a very loose term applied to practically anyone. Men, women, children, babies, scholars, students, reporters, foreigners, monks and many others were some of the people selected as "traitors."

To learn more about the Khmer Rouge and the genocide, click here.

The Khmer Rouge turned a high school in Phnom Phen into a fully-functional concentration camp where they imprisoned these innocent people. The prisoners spent an average of 3 months in the old high school, working as forced laborers until they were sent to the killing fields and murdered in atrocious ways. Like so many of the victims in Hitler's holocaust, the Khmer Rouge victims were made to dig their own graves and shot, stabbed, or beaten to death once completed. Babies were spared this and were beaten to death against a tree instead.

One of the torture rooms.

To make matters worse, the victims were tortured on an almost daily basis. Not only did they face terrible living conditions like starvation and disease from the lack of personal-hygiene in the prison, they were also sent to rooms to be tortured with wrenches, hammers, or hung from trees. One of the worst examples is that they pulled of their toe-nails with plyiers.

The rules enforced by the Khmer Rouge to control the innocent victims. Click to make the picture larger.

Unfortunately, the genocide of the almost 2 million innocent victims is a large fact, mostly unknown to the average Westerner. Sadly, Cambodia still suffers to this day because barely any of the torturers faced any sort of punishemnt or even a trial after the Khmer Rouge fell apart. Not even the organizer of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, was brought to trial and it's too late to do anything about it now. He died before anyone could bring any justice to the people.

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