on December 28, 2006
Choeung Ek or the Killing Fields as they are also known are actually about 15kms out of town over partly gravel roads. The site contains a central memorial Buddhist Stupa divided into levels and holding hundreds and hundreds of skulls many still displaying the hole in the skull where they were clubbed to death in order to save bullets. The Stupa has glass window panes but each of the shelves holding the skulls is left open so that the spirits can easily come and go according to local belief. There are then many large excavated holes where the mass graves were found. There are still pieces of bones and clothing half buried in the dirt. Also erected are some palm thatched open sided huts where there are signs with the count of the number of victims that were found in each. In one alone there were 450 victims, it defies belief. The site now has a peaceful feeling however you can almost feel the souls of all the poor victims when you are visiting. Like the Tuol Sleng Museum the setting is all the more shocking in that it is so ordinary.The only solace that I found in amongst all the horror was the local kids hanging around at the boundaries as they are not allowed to enter. Their happy smiles and pure delight when I pulled out a bag of gummy bears was pure joy. In another spot a pair of young boys were waving shyly and it was only when I returned home and saw the picture enlarged I realized he was giving us a peace sign – makes you feel hopeful?When you hire a car make sure that it has air-conditioning not the fan cooling our little number turned out to have. It is so hot that you will really appreciate it.
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