Mission to Cambodia 2012
from Cassie Wright
Today we went to the killing fields outside of Phnom Pehn. It was one of the hardest things to make myself do. Many of us did not want to go after Tuol Sleng and seeing how the people of this country were tortured, but we went anyway. I was shocked at how beautiful of a place the killing fields were despite the ugly horrors that were committed here. We were guided by audio tour headphones that gave a description of every stop along a path that went through the field. The path guided you along where the Cambodians would have been taken. The first stop was at the truck stop where blindfolded Cambodians would be taken off the truck and accounted for. Then they would be put in a double walled wooden house that let no light in with hundreds of other Cambodians. In this room they would hear songs dedicated to the Khmer Rouge with an eerie mix of generator. The Khmer Rouge army would not kill the people by guns but with beating them to death with garden tools. If the person was not dead but beaten till they were unconscious acid would be poured on the graves. This acid was also used to cover up the smell of the eroding bodies. There was one stop on the path that made my stomach turn. This was at the killing tree. This was the spot that children and babies were taken from the protective arms of their mothers and beaten till they died. The mother was also killed and throw into the pit. There were so many mass graves that the ground has sunken in around the graves. The land looks as if a meteor shower hit the earth and scared it. Bits of clothing and bones are just visible below the dirt due to the erosion from the rainy seasons. The staff that works at the killing fields gathers anything that has surfaced and puts it in a glass box in the center of the field.
Many people talk about how important it is to see and remember the holocaust, but when are children going to be taught about the Khmer Rouge. The Jews lost roughly 30% of their population, and the Cambodian people lost 21%. Why do we not talk about it? Why do we turn our heads? The population that was affected most would be the "Baby Boomers," but I do not understand why I have never heard about it before now.