- Killing Fields -
Pol Pot's life,
Pol Pot's Grave
The Killing Fields were a number
of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of
people were killed and buried by the Khmer
Rouge regime, during its rule of the country
from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end
of the Vietnam War.
In Cambodia, nine miles (14.5 kilometers)
from Phnom Penh, the "killing fields" of
Choeung Ek have become a tourist attraction,
horrifying and fascinating. Choeung Ek is
one of thousands of other such sites around
the country where the Khmer Rouge practiced
genocide during the late 1970s.
Choeung Ek is a memorial, marked by a Buddhist stupa.
The stupa has acrylic glass sides and is filled with
more than 5,000 human skulls. Some of the lower
levels are opened during the day so that the skulls
can be seen directly. Many have been shattered or
A soccer-field-sized area surrounded by
farmland, the killing fields contain mass
graves, slightly sunken, for perhaps 20,000
Cambodians, many of whom were tortured
before being killed. The bordering trees
held nooses for hangings.
The place feels
surreally serene, and I was more overwhelmed
with curiosity than a sense of death and
With the commemorative stupa in front of us, we
imagine that we are hearing the grievous voice of
the victims who were beaten by Pol Pot men with
canes, bamboo stumps or heads of hoes, and of the
ones who were stabbed with knives or swords.
Imagining the horrifying scenes and the panic.
Stricken faces of the people who were dying of
starvation, forced labour or torture without mercy
upon their skinny bodies. They died without giving
the last words to their kith and kin. How much pain
those victims were in when they got beaten with
canes, heads of hoes and stabbed with knives or
swords before their last breath went out. How bitter
they were when seeing their beloved children, wives,
husbands, brothers or sisters were seized and
tightly bound before being taken to the mass grave!
While they were waiting for their turn to come and
share the same tragic result.
It was a very sober but educational experience. At
first, we were not exactly excited about going, and
even when we were there it felt strange staring at
piles of human skulls and peering into pits that
were used to throw human.
However, in the end, we are
glad that I had the experience because it helped me
to better understand the culture and history of Cambodia.
Human bones on the path
Read about the Pol Pot.
Read about the genocide of Pol Pot.
Read about the Pol Pot's grave.