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Picture of the Week #87

This is what a human skull with a bullet hole on the temple looks like. This is in a country in which a relatively recent genocide killed an estimated 2 million people.

Going by its friendly people, one can never imagine this country to have such a violent and turbulent past. Can you guess which country I’m referring to? I was inspired to go here after watching the movie, The Killing Fields (review).

That’s right, this is in Cambodia.

The pictures are from Choeung Genocidal Center, ominously called the “Killing Fields”. There were signs here showing an open-mouth smiling face with a large red “X” over it. This was one of the sites where mass graves were discovered. The Khmer Rouge regime were responsible for the killings.

The Khmer Rouge is remembered mainly for the deaths of an estimated 2 million people or 1/5th of the country’s total population under its regime, through execution, starvation and forced labor. Following their leader Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge imposed a policy where people were forcibly relocated from urban areas to farms where forced labour was widespread. The purpose of this policy was to turn Cambodians into “Old People” through agricultural labour. These actions resulted in massive deaths through executions, work exhaustion, illness, and starvation.

This memorial stupa houses thousands of skulls of people murdered by the Khmer Rouge during the 1970’s. The Khmer Rouge was the ruling political party of Cambodia—which it renamed the Democratic Kampuchea—from 1975 to 1979. The term “Khmer Rouge,” means “Red Khmer” in French, and was coined by the Cambodian head of state.

On a lighter note, this is where I ran into the little rascals.