Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Killing Fields

Our first week in Battambang the foreigners were taken a few miles out of the city to a site of one of the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge; the killing fields. Here in Battambang, they are a series of caves which are accessable through openings at the top of the hill. People were shot and then fell to the bottom of the caves. Later, in an effort to save ammunition, they were simply pushed. Children were swung by their legs into the stone walls, shattering their skulls. Strong men were hung first, or beaten senseless. The caves are now shrines, and the remaining bones and clothes (that weren't taken as SOUVENIRES) have been collected into mesh cages.

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Garth, Bona and the Barang checking out a gun pointed at the Thai border. Most of the area between Battambang and Thailand was heavily landmined, and was one of the last outposts of the Khmer Rouge in 1980-97.

At the top of the mountain is an old Pagoda -- originally Hindu -- there are still blue gods about, but now Buddhist. The blurring of religious lines is very common in Cambodia. Most have a hazy mix of Buddhism, Hindu, and some Chinese ancestor worship. Taoism also factors in, and some animism in the remote areas.

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Me, Jessica, Suzy, Bopa, and Alissa overlooking Battambang from the front of the Pagoda.