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The Madness of Khmer Rouge - Tuol Sleng S-21 Unit

Herded like animals, victims met their final hours here in what should be a sanctity of learning that had been turned into a grotesque terror house. Children would be forcefully taken away from their parents. The vow of marriage would be voided here. Each member of a household would be reduced to one - an entity without names except a number, separated and distraught and shackled in isolation, made days and nights to confess for taking part in absurd imaginary conspiracy until the day when the dreadful footstep comes that would mean summary execution. The ground which was more used to the laughters of school children would soon be swelled with the bodies of people who once were the fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters of countless numbers of families. Blaring revolutionary music would be played to smother the final anguishing screams of victims. The madness did not stop even when the ground was choking with bodies - the victims would simply be taken to their shallow graves in a place outside Phnom Penn called Choeung Ek, a former orchard. There, tied behind their back and made to kneel they would be executed with a forceful thwack to the back of their heads with a blunt tool like a cart axle. Slumped and stunned they would drop into a ditch where they either bleed or suffocate to death. The most vile form however would be meted out to babies and small children - their feet held tight by the executioner who swing them in circles until there would be enough momentum to smash their heads against the trunk of a tree, now known infamously as the Killing Tree - covered in brain matters and smithereens of skull at the end of the exercise according to some eyewitnesses' account. Such senseless killings would eventually claim the lives of 17,000 people who passed through the gates of Tuol Sleng - a former high school. All the victims imprisoned at Tuol Sleng were carefully and meticulously biographied by their interrogators with mugshots. I chose these few which say the most - not just for the myriad of emotions and expressions on display but also for the age range - it's like a cross-section of any society, an all-pervasive persecution of the utmost madness and in the strangest form, an "autocide" only surpassed in scale by the various political campaigns in Maoist China.

Copyright: Arroz Marisco
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 14000x7000
Taken: 12/02/2011
Uploaded: 10/06/2011
Updated: 11/03/2015


Tags: tuol sleng; killing fields; s-21; khmer rouge; pol pot
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