Hatchet, Pick Axe, Gun, Human: The Killing Fields

As I posted about before, there is a time during travel when pictures should be avoided.

The Killing Fields in Cambodia is one such place, in my opinion. Now a testament to the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, the Killing Fields are really comprised of physical markers explaining what happened; an audio, self-guided tour; a small museum; and warnings that if you see human bone fragments…leave them. The bones are still collected from  the fields a regular basis as heavy rains reveal what was once hidden.

Then one enters the stupa. I entered the stupa last, leaving my shoes at the front as requested. Upon entering, bare skulls greeted me. They are stacked in glass vases, tall enough to reach into the heavens and the horror that can be humanity.

The skulls are color-coded with what kind of injury occurred to them: hatchet, pick axe, gun. I would add another code: human. There were times when I gasped at the gaping holes, wanting to push out of my mind what was already forming as a garish scene replete with brain, gore, and blood.

Who would do this? Who would be willing to swing with such sheer force to cause a wound like this one…or that one?

Bluntly put, many people would and have.

When I returned to the car that would take me back to my hotel, I was quiet. This time it had nothing to do with the language barrier and everything to do with what I had seen.