Haunting memorial or gratuitous commercialism? – CNN Go


From 1975 to 1979 an estimated 1.4 million Cambodians were killed under the despotic rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

The executions took place on what have become known as Cambodia’s Killing Fields. The best known of these is Choeung Ek, 17 kilometers from the center of Phnom Penh. Here, an estimated 17,000 men, women and children were butchered by the Khmer Rouge.

'Killing Tree' where babies and children were murdered at Cheoung Ek. To the bottom right are some human bone remains (Photo: Simon Roughneen)

It is a suitably grim and eerie memorial to those who died, an Auschwitz-Birkenau for Asia.

But unlike the Holocaust memorial, Choeung Ek is not a UNESCO World Heritage site and today questions are being raised about the benefit of Killing Field tourism for local inhabitants.

Choeung Ek is run by Japanese company JC Royal, which pays the Cambodian Government an annual US$15,000 levy for the site. Meanwhile, the five million survivors of the Khmer Rouge era appear to derive little benefit from it.

Many live on less than US$1 per day, an injustice that adds to the upset caused by delays in punishing the perpetrators behind Cambodia’s darkest era.

Read more: Killing Field tourism: Haunting memorial or gratuitous commercialism? | CNNGo.com http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/life/camdodia-killing-field-tourism-905731


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