Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cambodia Trip: Post 5 - Phnom Penh Tourist

On Tuesday everyone went to go get some ice cream. It was fun to get out with the family and see downtown Phnom Penh.



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After that I got to meet Hawn, Chad’s language teacher. Instead of a normal class, Chad decided to take a field trip to one of the Prison camps during the Khmer Rouge - Tuol Sleng, also know as S-21, which is now a memorial museum. Chad did try to get some work done on the Tuk Tuk ride.

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The tour of Tuol Sleng was very sobering, and really the saddest sight I have ever seen. It used to be a Primary and High School in Phnom Penh but was turned into a prison and torture chamber during the Khmer Rouge. The things that come to mind when I think of torture are nothing compared to the things that were shown in this museum. This was far beyond the violence of war and really the most disturbing thing I have witnessed in my lifetime. What makes it even more impactful is that this is still in the heart of the city, it is only one of many of these camps, and that this happened just over 30 years ago. Below are some pictures of the camp. These do not show the terrible story of this camp, but for this audience I have tried to include only pictures that anyone can view. Hawn and our tour guide are the others in the pictures. This was Hawn’s first time going to this camp, it was very sobering for him as well.

Also in the pics is one of the seven survivors who was selling his book at the museum, Chum Mey. Of over 12,000 prisoners, he was one of the few who lived to tell the story.

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This is a view from inside the rooms. You see 3 brick cells on the right. Each of these rooms were filled with several of these tiny cells where the prisoners stayed. The pieces of writing that you see on the wall at the top was lettering that remained from the school.

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