The S-21 prison, also known as the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, (and the Killing Fields) are not for the faint-hearted.
Yet, I strongly believe that a visit to this museum is an absolute must for every person on this planet.
Pol Pot (Saloth Sar) wiped out more than a third of his own people. In just three years, he killed as many as three million men, women and children in some of the most barbaric ways possible. His extreme regime practiced aggressive agrarian socialism where city dwellers were forced to work in farms and he systematically killed anyone he either didn’t consider useful or ‘too educated’ to fit in with his plan.
“To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss”
The Khmer Rouge was directly in power from 1976 – 1979 and while Vietnam was crying out for the world’s attention to this ghastly genocide, it was largely ignored as the American-Vietnam war was still in full swing. Finally, the Vietnamese intervened and drove Pol Pot and his men out to the jungles at the Thai border. Astonishingly and shamefully, the United Nations still recognized Pol Pot’s regime as the legitimate government of Cambodia for another eighteen years.
Events like these make me question people who were adults then as to what exactly they were doing? Why did they quietly stand by while millions of innocent people were slaughtered? Just like a lot of the international community idly watched in the early days of The Holocaust. Of course, the comeback here is predictable and deserving – they ask me what I’m doing about the multiple genocides in Africa? What am I doing about the millions in Syria?
And I reply – Nothing. I’m not even doing anything about the asylum seekers my own government is abusing.
This picture is #6 in my #365k photo series