Disclaimer: This is my post about the Killing Fields and it is not a happy one.
I went to the Phnom Penh Killing Fields a week ago Sunday and I’ve probably started this post a dozen different ways. I thought about doing a step-by-step of the experience, what it was like driving up and seeing it for the first time, listening to survivor stories. But that seems really clinical and detached. There is nothing cut and dry about the Killing Fields and what it takes for humans to do that to each other. It’s a messy experience full of chaotic emotions.
But I’m not going to write about the Killing Fields. There are some horrors in the world that are too great for words. There simply are not words that can convey the spirit crushing horror of The Killing Tree and the Magic Tree. There’s nothing I can say or write that will make you understand what it’s like to listen to a recording of what was most likely the last thing people—children, men, and women—heard before they were hacked to death with hoes, scythes, bayonets, and axes.
You can still see clothes coming up from the ground as erosion continues to bring more victims to the surface. Scraps of t-shirts and jackets and blouses tangled in roots.
One of my classmates found a skull.
I found a femur. Part of a femur at least.
There are teeth and bone fragments everywhere.
So no, I could flip through a dictionary for days and still not find the words to explain to you the terrible horror of the Killing Fields so I won’t try.