Two Years in the Kingdom of Wonder- Tuol Sleng and the killing fields

October 1, 2017

Hello All, and thank you for following me. This week is more on Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. I visited Tuol Sleng which was the prison that Pol Pot used to torture those suspected of anything that would be a threat to the Khmer Rouge. It is now a genocide museum dedicated to all those that suffered there. I have no pictures because it was requested that none be taken. However, you can google them but be aware they are graphic and hard to look at. People who were taken there were tortured in extreme and inhumane ways until they admitted to doing whatever they were accused of doing. Then they were taken to the killing fields and executed. The pictures here are of the Khmer Rouge killing fields. People were taken away from their families but the families were not given any information as to where they were taken. The mother of my host family, while I was in training, had three cousins taken away by the Khmer Rouge. It wasn’t till she toured Tuol Sleng did she find out what happened to at least one of them. There were walls filled with the mugshots of the prisoners. He was one of them. I use the word mugshot for lack of a better term. These people were not given any trial or opportunity to prove their innocence. They were forced into confession then executed and buried in mass graves. Of the 12,000 to 20,000 that were imprisoned at Toul Sleng there were only twelve confirmed survivors. Tuol Sleng was one of 200 of Pol Pots torture prisons. So many, including myself, want to know how a person this evil and deranged could gain so much power. He came to power, at least partially, due to the US bombing raids in Cambodia during the Vietnam war. Cambodia chose to stay neutral in regards to the war. Due to the neutrality, North Vietnam was able to set up camps within Cambodia along the South Vietnam border. Nixon and Kissinger decided unilaterally and in secret to bomb Cambodia. These bombing raids were illegal and without authorization from Congress. We were not at war with Cambodia. Worse yet these raids didn’t just bomb the camps. They carpet bombed Cambodia killing innocent people. The Cambodians sought to overthrow the government to stop the bombing. Pol Pot claimed he could put a stop to the bombing raids. There is more about Pol Pot to come in future posts. My intention is to keep this blog accurate and informative. If there is an inaccuracy, please let me know and I will make the correction.

Disclaimer: The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Cambodian Government.

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