A High School Turned Torture PrisonMonday, August 01, 2011
Chichi and I often played a game of describing a place we've been in just one word. It allows us to capture our impressions in the most honest and concise answer. It was no surprise that when it came to Phnom Penh, we both answered: Depressing!
Yes, Phnom Penh is truly the Feel Bad capital of Southeast Asia.
The atrocities of the Khmer Rouge are still felt in this scarred city. There are 2 major sites where the evidence of the horrors are well preserved: The Killing Fields of Cheong Ek and Tuol Sleng High School. Tuol Sleng ironically translates to "Hill of the Poison Tree". It was an abandoned school that the Khmer Rouge converted as a prison and interrogation center for political prisoners.
It was a place where people went in but never got out.
Words alone are not enough to capture the thoughts and emotions we've been through when visited this school turned prison. So I'll walk you through the experience with these images:
"Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you…yet, someone survived…You can do anything you choose to do."
— Maya Angelou
"...everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
— Viktor Frankl Quotes from Man's Search for Meaning
God be with you all. Hell is waiting for Pol Pot.
Nearly 20,000 people are known to have entered Tuol Sleng; of these only six are known to have survived.
"We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived."
— Chris Cleave (Little Bee)
Sole Sister Lois
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