As we sit and enjoy some well-earned lunch in a Vientiane cafe, our minds cast back to this week’s visit to the Choeung Ek Genocide Museum, commonly known as the Killing Fields. When visiting Phnom Penh, it really is one of those ‘must-see’ things to do. Anyone interested in history, in Cambodia, or anyone with an ounce of humanity, cannot fail to be moved by what you see and the stories you hear.
Our photo of the week for this week comes from the Memorial Stupa in the Museum’s grounds. More specifically, it is a haunting image of the remains of some of the victims of the murderous Khmer Rouge genocide.
THIS WEEKS WINNER.
When you visit both Choeung Ek and Tuol Sleng (S21) prison, you are left to imagine what must have been going through the minds of the people involved. For the perpetrators, how could you rationalise committing such atrocities? For the victims, it is impossible even imagine the horror.
Seeing this display in the Memorial Stupa, adds a new dimension to your developing emotions. It elevates you to reality. The stark reality that so many people were brutally murdered just metres from where you’re standing, by a regime bent on destroying human life.
We left with a sense of desperation at how humankind can turn on itself, so quickly, and without hesitation. And it’s happened so many times around the world, it will happen again, and is in Syria, while the rest of the world averts their helpless eyes.
This is what struck us the most about our visit, the fact that we simply knew nothing about the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian genocide. At home, we aren’t taught about it in school, or in mainstream history courses at university. Unfortunately, Europe has an exceptionally bloody history so Cambodia is perhaps too far off our radars.
To round off this week’s Photo of the Week, we were extremely moved by the things we learnt on these tours. You really have to go and educate yourselves as we have. It’s the only way to make sure it doesn’t happen again.