Only 6 survivors out of 18.000 cambodian interlectuals whose life ended in Tuol Sleng (S21). The Khmer Rouge between 1975-79 wiped out 1.7 Million educated Cambodians, almost 1/3 of the population. Pol Pot, his leader, intended to turn the whole country back into an agricultural based economy.
We visited the “Killing Fields”, the most famous and biggest one out of 600 memorials in the whole country. I was touched by the peace this side deceptively appears. I am thankful to the cambodian historical instituts and government for putting up such a strong memorial. It indicates responsibility they feel towards their own people. Above all as they started to late to prosecute the leaders.
This day marks an important piece to understand Cambodia and its people as it is today. Each family still today suffers from trauma and depression out of that terrifying period that only ended in 1998, when at the age of 73 Pol Pot passed away. Education is still associated with fear 80 percent of the teachers were killed. Almost all schools destroyed.
Everyone of us experienced it in silence. The day ended with a stunning view at night over Pnom Penh from a top roof bar.