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The Killing Fields

CAMBODIA | Wednesday, 17 August 2011 | Views [701]

There are times when I feel am an opportunist coz am trying to capture some horrid truths and gain sympathy for my work and in the process become popular...taking photographs around the killing fields was one such time. I feel guilty putting up these images in my album coz am trying to cover 2 million deaths in 200 shots of my camera, I would get some good comments and be appreciated, but the truth is I feel I am en cashing upon those lost souls. The only reason I made this album is for the people who do not know about the Genocide in Cambodia which swept away generations of people in just 5 years of regime of the Khmer Rouge. This is a tribute to those who were killed mercilessly….

The killing fields are a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during the rule of the country from 1975 to 1979. At least 200,000 people were executed by the Khmer Rouge and the approximate estimation of the number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.4 to 2.2 million out of a total population of 7 million. It took 5 years to research 20,000 grave sites which contained the remains of 1,112,829 victims of execution. The Khmer regime headed by Pol Pot targeted anyone and everyone suspected to be in connection with the former government or with foreign government, Professionals, Intellectuals, Ethnic Vietnamese, Ethnic Thai, Ethnic Chinese, Ethnic Chams (Cambodian Muslims), Christians and even Buddhist Monks were not spared. To save ammunition the executions were carried out using hammers, axe handles, spades and sharpened bamboo sticks; some victims were required to dig their own graves. It is often described as “One of the worst human tragedies of the last century”.

“No religious rituals, No religious symbols; No education, No training; No currency, No bartering; No communication, No public transportation; No human rights, No social gathering; No marriage, No divorce; No flirting, No masturbation; No shoes, No sandals; No soaps, No detergents; No mercy, No help; No radio, No TV …” these were a few lines of the poem written during the Khmer Rouge regime, A third of the population didn’t survive. In 1979, Vietnam backed by Soviet Union attacked and ended the Khmer Rouge regime.

Tags: cambodia, genocide, khmer rouge, killing fields, phnom penh

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