Khmer Rouge (round 3) was one of my favourite Explorations. In this class, at first, I learned about different genocides around the world including, the Holocaust, Bosnian Genocide, Rwandan Genocide, and Armenian Genocide. I continued learning more about the overall history of Cambodia.
Cambodia has been rebuilding from the massive genocide called Khmer Rouge that killed approximately 2 million people between 1975 – 1979. Pol Pot was the leader of the Khmer Rouge and he believed all Cambodians should be equal. However, no one could have seen what he meant by that and when he started to take control over the country, things started to go wrong. During this regime, people were forced to leave their homes and families to work as slaves and soldiers in atrocious conditions. Over just a few years, Cambodians lost their family, friends, property, dignity and even identity. In 1976, a high school located in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, was turned into a prison where the Khmer Rouge soldiers tortured the victims. It is known as Cambodian Genocide Museum or in short, S-21.
I was shocked after seeing all of the things in S-21. I saw different cells where they put the victims. It was small, some were made from bricks, and some were made from woods. I saw the black chain that stuck out of the floor, which used to be the chain that tied the victim’s leg so they couldn’t escape the prison. I still could see the blood stain that left from the torture.
Other things I could see was skulls of the people who got shot, or hit by something on the head. There were some arts painted by Vann Nath hanging on the wall to display all the torture methods he saw the soldiers did. In the museum, they also display the weapons used, and all of the victims portraits. They all looked so sad, some were man, woman, and even children. It’s insane how people could just killed all those little child, and their nation.
I hope Cambodia doesn’t go through this again. I wish more Khmer people get to come to S-21 to learn more about the genocide. Genocide is crazy to think about, it destroy everything, and brings no good to the country. At the end of the day, this genocide was a sad thing, but we all should keep moving on, and try to change this developing region in a positive way.