S21: Artifacts of a Misguided Revolution


S21 or the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum is a grim memorial to the brutal regime of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. It was opened in 1979  to help the victims find if their loved ones that they think survived this prison camp. Estimates say that out of the 17,000 prisoners, only 7 people got out of there alive. Before it was converted into a prison camp, it was named Chao Ponhea Yat High School, named after a royal ancestor of King Norodom Sihanouk.

I didn’t really want to visit the place because from what I have seen from photos and what I have heard from friends, the place looks really scary and depressing. However, my mother-in-law, who is visiting at the moment, wants to see the place. I guess a part of was really curious so we (my wife and I) decided to take her there – and besides no matter how I try to avoid it, S21 will be there as a part of Cambodia’s history. I managed to take some photos of the place which i think is significant to me as a foreigner living in an alien land that is full bad memories. If you have visited the place then you will understand that words aren’t enough to describe the horror and suffering that still lingers within the compound of a supposedly institution of fun and learning.

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