Cambodia is well known for its picturesque temple complex Angkor, located near Siem Reap city. The city is relatively wealthy compared to other parts of the country thanks to tourism which directly or indirectly provides income for most people.
In contrast, Cambodia’s current capital Phnom Pehn seems like a city of slums similar to the image that media create of the slums of India. Ten kilometres from the centre of the capital lies Cambodia’s most gruwesome tourist destination: Cambodia’s killing fields. Walking here elicits an intense feeling of overwhelming sadness, knowing that at this place hundreds of victims including many women and children, were brought by trucks; they were kept without food, slaughtered using tools that require forceful blows to the head or neck, and their bodies were disposed of in mass graves. It is one of those places in the world, like Europe’s concentration camps where atrocities have been committed, where we can safely venture today, but with an ambiguous feeling about what it means to be a human. Walking at such places is a strong reminder that amongst all animals, mankind is the most savage beast on earth.
(This post is inspired by my visit to these killing fields, and the pictures are my own.)