Journal Excerpt - Phenom Pehn, Cambodia
-A skull of one of the victims. Notice the puncture to the forehead caused by a blunt instrument.-While the contents of this blog are disturbing, they only relay a small picture of the brutality forced upon the Cambodians. According to Time Life, "Perhaps a quarter of Cambodia's population was dead, either from execution or starvation". We believe that this brutality that was forced upon the innocent is unjustifiable and as such deserves worldwide recognition in order to bring a positive change to our future. We need to know that genocide is not dead but is still active in our world today, if you don't believe me just take a look at North Korea.
-Only a handful of the children who were executed.-
-The monument built to house the remains of those mass graves that were unearthed.-
Today was an exhausting day, not exhausting because of physical exertion, but the kind of mental exhaustion that makes one question the very core of the individual human heart. Today we visited The Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
We learned of the unspeakable atrocities committed by regular people towards their own kind, their own brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. We learned of the deaths of nearly 2,000,000 innocent lives, of unspeakable brutality, and cold-hearted murder.
-Remains. Bones and teeth under the 'magic tree', a place of mass extermination.-
-The sharp edges of palms, as seen above, were used as saws.-
We stood on the site where they bludgeoned the innocent, killing them and burying the hundreds in mass graves. We touched the tree where they killed the children by holding their feet, swinging their bodies and cracking their heads against the solid trunk. We stood in the cells where they unjustly held the victims before there ‘extermination’. We looked into the eyes of those killed; teachers, doctors, lawyers, the learned, children, farmers and politicians. We heard the stories of both the tortured and the tortures.
At first it was easy to judge. They, the mutilators of innocent lives, must be punished. How could they kill? How could they unjustly imprison? But, as the day went on, as we became better informed, we learned that many of these ‘monsters’ were just children. Once innocent but now frightened and fighting to save their own lives and the lives of those they loved. And, so I wonder… are we all capable of such acts?
-A mass grave, not yet unearthed.-
-A hall of Tuol Sleng, a high school which was turned into a genocide prison.-
-High school classrooms converted into prison cells. The victims would wait here for 'extermination'.-
-A classroom converted into a torture chamber.-