Today I learned about sad and dark history of Cambodia known as Angkor Wat to Khmer Rouge genocide. A genocide that took the lives of 1.8 million people. This took place during the Vietnam war, in April 17, 1975. In this time, dictator Pol Pot seized control of Cambodia and lead an army of country side Cambodians, who mainly often farmers and young people. This group known as Khmer Rouge, were easily manipulated into Pol’s plan to turn Cambodia into a communist society. Phnom Penh was the first strike were Khmer Rouge tricked people into thinking Phnom Penh was going to be bombed by the U.S and were being sent to “safe homes” away from the war but were secretly being sent to killing camps where they were executed. People who were seen as “intellectual” so doctors, teachers, government workers, people who wore glasses and the families of suspects were sent to these camps with no mercy. Once victims arrived to camp they were striped of personal belonging, were banned of western influence which included medicine, were malnourished, separated from families, tortured and forced to work 12+ hours. Many died on the journey to the “safe homes” along with hard labor, starvation, disease, execution and by being tortured. This event has impacted Cambodia forever.
My time in Cambodia, I was given the opportunity to visit the Killing Fields and S21 camps.
Facts about visited camps:
- 300 prisoners killed daily
- 129 mass graves on 6 acres