Coming into Phnom Pehn on a wide boulevard shared by expensive cars, you’d think you were in another world.
There are towering monuments,
and a Palace that is rich in splendor.
It is an architectural delight
with stunning vistas at every turn. Here, one can almost forget the poverty and illiteracy that pervades the country. Beauty, however, is only part of what identifies this capital city where most of Cambodia’s wealth exists.
Part of its story is here in at the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, a school that in the days of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge was a facility for unspeakable atrocity.
As many as 20,000 prisoners were held here crowded together in small rooms. Not all were lucky enough to have a cot but were in cells barely large enough in which to turn around.
Torture forced prisoners to confess to whatever they were accused of, and one means was to suspend a person upside down and drop him head first into vats filled with vile water.
Imagine being held to these rules. As you might guess, few, many of whom were children, survived such inhuman treatment,
and there are grim reminders of that truth.
If I remember correctly, this man is the only living of seven survivors whose stories are told in several publications. We were honored to have him request a photo with us.
Following the visit here, it was suggested we go to the Killing Fields, but the Traveling Sisterhood’s emotions were stretched to the limits at that point,
and we opted for the Russian Market. Working through the maze of stalls with temptations at every turn was torture of a different kind!