Semua bangsa atau negara punya sejarah hitam. Tak terkecuali Kamboja. Perang Saudara Kamboja (1975-1979) menyisakan satu saksi bisu, yaitu Ladang Pembantaian Cheung Ek, atau lebih dikenal dengan nama Killing Field.

Cheung Ek Killing Field terletak sekitar 7,5 km luar kota Phnom Penh. Di lokasi ini sekitar 17.000 hingga 20.000 orang (jumlah pastinya tidak pernah diketahui) dibunuh secara kejam oleh rezim komunis yang berkuasa saat itu, Khmer Merah.

Choeung Ek Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia became isolated and over the four years the Khmer Rouge ruled the country between 1975 – 1979, it’s estimated about 3 million people died, almost half the population at the time.

The remains of 8985 people, many of whom were bound and blindfolded, were exhumed in 1980 from mass graves in this one-time longan orchard; 43 of the 129 communal graves here have been left untouched.

A memorial stupa was constructed as a symbol of the cruel and barbaric homicides committed by the Khmer Rouge

Mereka yang dibunuh di sini adalah semua orang yang dianggap berpotensi menjadi lawan politik Khmer Merah. Kaum terpelajar, guru, dokter, karyawan, dan seluruh keluarga mereka dibawa ke lokasi ini dengan truk, kemudian dieksekusi dengan mata tertutup dan dilemparkan ke lubang secara bertumpuk-tumpuk.

Cara eksekusinya pun sangat sadis dengan memukulkan batang kayu, besi, linggis atau sekop ke kepala korban. Semua eksekusi korban di Killing Field tidak menggunakan peluru karena nyawa mereka tidak lebih berharga dari sebutir peluru. Bahkan ada satu pohon besar yang digunakan untuk mengeksekusi bayi dengan cara memukulkan kepalanya ke batang pohon.

Choeung Ek Killing Field became a significant center to show the brutal and barbaric activities of the Khmer Rouge

The Choeung Ek Killing Fields is part of the legacy left by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. When Pol Pot took control of the country, at least 20,000 Cambodians were executed at the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, also known as Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre.

They were brought out in trucks, taken to pits that had been dug in the ground, and then bashed/hacked/mutilated before being thrown into the hole.

The stupa at Choeung Ek has acrylic glass sides and is filled with more than 5,000 human skulls

Sebuah stupa dibangun di kawasan depan Killing Field untuk mengenang para korban. Ada 8000 lebih tengkorak manusia dan tulang tersusun di dalam stupa ini. Juga baju-baju para korban.

Pada bagian lain, terdapat sejumlah kuburan massal. 43 dari 129 kuburan massal di sini bahkan belum tersentuh. Sebagian di antaranya dilarang untuk didekati karena masih banyak tulang manusia di tempat tersebut. Tiket masuk lokasi ini sebesar USD 5, lengkap dengan tour audioguide.

Mass graves at Choeung Ek Killing Field, the largest one was a grave containing 450 corpses

One of the things that strikes you at the Killing Fields is how crude everything once was here, even the murders. The people killed here were not even worth the price of a bullet. So they killed here by hacked to death with spades, machetes or even the spiked plants that grew nearby.

In January 7th 1979, Cambodia was liberated from Khmer Rouge and then the mystery of the killing fields including Choeung Ek were discovered

Selama rezim Khmer Merah berkuasa di Kamboja (1975-1979), diperkirakan 3 juta orang tewas atau sepertiga dari total penduduk Kamboja saat itu. Tidak ada pembangunan bangsa, tidak ada kemajuan, hanya ada penderitaan, penyiksaan, dan kematian.

Today, Choeung Ek Killing Field became a historical museum for humankind and is one of the most popular attractions for both domestic and foreign tourism in Phnom Penh

Fragments of human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. More than 5000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, built in 1988. It’s a tribute to those who lost their lives but it’s a grim shrine to the horrors of what happened here. The skulls look out through the glass doors and windows at the fields in front of them. The fields of death.

Admission to the Killing Fields includes an audio tour available in several languages. The free audioguide which comes with the entrance fee at the Killing Fields paints the picture well. It describes how the site would have looked during the Khmer Rouge’s reign and includes first-person accounts of those who were there at the time.

Between 1975-1978 about 20 thousand victims including diplomats, foreigners, intellectuals, officers, soldiers, farmers especially children and women were murdered by Khmer Rouge

How to get there

Akses paling mudah menuju Killing Field adalah dengan tuk-tuk, ongkosnya sekitar USD 10, pintar-pintarlah menawar. Sopir tuk-tuk juga akan membawa anda ke destinasi lain seperti Tuol Sleng Museum, Royal Palace, dan pusat belanja di Russian Market.

Cheung Ek Killing Field is about 7.5km south of the city limits. Figure on about US$10, tuk-tuk drivers may ask for more. It is a peaceful place today, where visitors can learn of the horrors that unfolded here decades ago.

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