Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ECCC field trip part 1: Choeung Ek Killing Field

As a part of the field trip to the ECCC (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia) they take you to the court house outside of Phnom Penh. I was bummed that my own students couldn't go, but I'm very grateful that we were able to go with a friend's group of students. (If you missed my post about this, you can read it here)

I had been on a field trip to the ECCC before, but I had never watched a trial. While we were there, they were questioning Pol Pot's(The leader of the Khmer Rouge) nephew. It was absolutely amazing to watch the trial and to listen to the questioning. I was so impressed that so many Cambodians make a point of coming to witness the trails of those accused of genocide of their own people.

After spending the morning at the ECCC they send you to a killing field, Choeung Ek one of the largest outside of Phnom Penh. This is where they would bus people in to be killed, many who had already been tortured in S-21/Toul Sleng.

The horrors that were committed there are unbelievable. To save on ammunition, all over the country they would do horrible things to kill the people. Around 17,000 people died there in four years. There is a large Buddhist stupa containing about 5,000 skulls at the entrance of the killing field.

It was really touching to go there with all of the Khmer students and teachers and to see their reactions to the killing field. It's really hard to describe the feeling of being there, so hopefully the pictures will give you an idea of what it's like.

You can also read my post about Part Two: Toul Sleng

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