The Killing Fields

There is a period in the history of Cambodia when one man, who called himself Pol Pot, killed a few million of his own citizens, in a nightmarish call for a "pure, peasant-driven" society (influenced by Mao's ideology). He seized control of the capital, and literally drove all the urban people out of the cities, into rural camps with hard labour and little food. Many died of starvation, and all who were perceived as threats were simply put to death- these included govt. officials, celebrities, intellectuals, traders, businessmen, doctors, professionals, and minorities from other nations and religions.

The atrocities lasted four years, from 1975 to 1979, and ended when Vietnam removed him from power. There were several reasons for his rise, including turmoil of the Vietnam war in the neighbourhood, and the ambiguous stand of the Cambodian government led by their king. But the brutality that he unleashed was equivalent to the death camps of Hitler. There is a monument that the government built in memory of the victims of this terrible tragedy, at The Killing Fields (where many of the people were put to death) on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, open to tourists.

 The monument.
 Some flowers in the compound.
A grim reminder, preserved skulls found in mass graves nearby.


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