Choeung Ek - The Killing Fields

On Monday this week, we took another sobering look into Cambodia's history. All across Cambodia are "killing fields", which were mass graves used by the Khmer Rouge to bury some 1.3 million victims from 1975-1979. We visited Choeung Ek, a killing field outside of Phnom Penh, where an estimated 20,000 victims were killed and their bodies thrown into mass graves.

Cambodia - Choeung Ek - the Killing Fields

On the grounds of Choeung Ek is a memorial stupa filled with the preserved remains of the people who died there - bones, skulls, and clothing all exhumed from the graves.

Cambodia - Choeung Ek - the Killing Fields

On many of the remains, you can see the evidence of the violence that ended their lives.

Cambodia - Choeung Ek - the Killing Fields

The victims included men, women, children, intellectual, farmer, the elderly, the very young - no one was excused from death.

Cambodia - Choeung Ek - the Killing Fields

Cambodia - Choeung Ek - the Killing Fields

Our guide told us that often after the rainy season, remains and clothing continue to surface and rise up out of the ground.

Cambodia - Choeung Ek - the Killing Fields

Cambodia - Choeung Ek - the Killing Fields

One struggle for us, as we become more accustomed to Cambodia, is to reconcile Cambodia's history with its current pace of life and world view. We pray that we can begin to understand the Cambodian people and understand how we can work alongside them to better their country.