Thursday, February 17, 2011

Landmine Museum and The Killing Fields in Cambodia

I grouped these together because I got the same eerie feeling with these as I did when I visited Dacow, a concentrtion camp in Germany. That feeling of knowing you are standing on the same grounds that thousands of people were killed on. The landmine museum was a little diffrent since most of the landmine were not actually on those grounds. The founder of the museum is a man around 40 years old who was a child solider. He was recruited to join the Khmer Rouge after they killed his family. He held his first gun at age 10 and learned to build landmines. He know travels around Cambodia disarming landmines, there are roughly 3 to 7 million active landmines still in Cambodia. Most of which were put here by the U.S. He also has a sort of rehab center for children who have been injuried by these landmines, it is located behind the museum. What affected me most about this was seeing these kids who have lost an arm or a leg from these landmines or bombs that were dropped during the war that never exploded, knowing that someone I know could have been responsible for this.  I feel like people supportng the wars in the Middle-East should visit this place to see the long-term after affects it has on innocent people.
The Killing Fields got to me because it is so recent that you could still see bones and clothing in random spots walking around that has been washed up after the rainy season. It also is unbelivable to me that the Khmer Rouge killed their own people and not just adults, they killed the entire family so no one could come after them for revenge. We saw what was called the "killing tree" the actually banged babies heads against it to kill them. Most of the people were blungend to death so they did not waste bullets. They have detained they key people involved in this genocide except Pol Pot who was the leader and died in 1998. The first to go to trial was just sentenced in July 2010, the others are awaiting trial. Look it up if you don't know about it, there is so much I can not even write about. I will leave you with this during this nearly 5 year period 1974-79, the Khmer Rouge wiped out 20 percent of Cambodia's (their own country) population. I plan on watching "The Killing Fields" when I get home.

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