Friday, July 09, 2010

Cambodian Service Learning - Security Prison 21

Perhaps the main reason that Cambodia is in such wretched shape today was the rule of the Khmer Rouge (Communist Party of Kampuchea). It was estimated 2 million people died from murder, torture and starvation during 1975 - 79, out of the then population of 7 million. Practically everyone who had any knowledge - teachers, lawyers, engineers, reporters, professionals, ... - were killed off.

Security Prison 21 (S 21) was a secondary school converted into a prison for torture and interrogation. It was estimated 17,000 people were sent here. Out of which 12 people survived. The rectangular frame was used to torture the prisoners by tying their hands behind their backs, and then hanging them upside down. When the prisoners passed out, they were dipped into the large water pot underneath to revive them, so that they can continue to be tortured.

The classrooms were converted into prison cells and torture chambers. Prisoners were held down on the bed by these leg irons, while they were being tortured. Many of the prisoners did not actually die here. They were sent to the “killing fields” to be killed. More on that later.

One of the hardest things to look at are these haunting images of the prisoners. It is very hard to imagine how human beings can do these things to other human beings. But these un-imaginably cruel acts did take place, not too long ago. Human beings are capable of un-speakable evil. God only can redeem us from such evil.


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