Killing Fields

Although the photos (below) depict the harrowing events of Cambodian genocide, here is more information regarding Choeung Elk (Killing Fields) & Toul Sleng (S-21)


In Cambodia, 9 miles from the capital Phnom Penh, lies the "killing fields" of Choeung Ek. Choeung Ek is one of thousands of other such sites around the country where the Khmer Rouge practiced genocide during the late 1970s.

In the chronicle of 20th century horrors, Cambodia ranks high. For much of the last three decades, Cambodia has suffered through war, political upheaval and massive genocide.

The killing fields document death. From 1975 to 1979, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge soldiers killed 1.7 million Cambodians, or 21% of the population, according to Yale University's Cambodia Genocide Program.

About 3 to 4 football fields size 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.


Another notorious site is the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide in Phnom Penh. Once a high school, Tuol Sleng became a torture camp, prison and execution center.

Today the place looks benign, with palm trees and grass lawns in a suburban setting. From the outside, Tuol Sleng could be a school anywhere in the world. But inside are weapons of torture, skulls, blood stains and photographs of thousands of people who were murdered.


It was a very sobering experience to learn about the attrocities which occured here and all over Cambodia, and still do to this day: as the scene just outside is also heartrending. Amputees of all ages beg near refreshment and souvenir stands where I stood. The Khmer Rouge may be long gone, but many of the land mines they laid are still killing and maiming.

For more detailed information:


The film The Killing Fields (1984) starring John Malkovich, Sam Waterson, and Haing S. Ngor (who plays the character of Dith Pran, his friend during the regime) is shown 4 times a day in Phonm Pehn.