Photos of Tuol Sleng - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

December 7, 2023

Photos of Tuol Sleng

But not the most disturbing photos

Tuol Sleng 

I want to show anyone, everyone, what I saw and felt at Tuol Sleng Prison/Museum.  When I returned there today I experienced the same emotions I had when I first went there 15 years ago.  All I could do was walk around in a daze and silently take photos, lots of photos.  I didn't speak one word to anyone.  I guess this is how I process horrible stuff that makes no sense.  

So, I want to show you just some of the photos.  I'm leaving out the ones that show the most graphic and disturbing scenes.  As I view each image, I keep saying to myself, 'This was a school!  How could anyone do such things anywhere, but in a school?!!'

It was a pretty big high school and there were four blocks of three-story classrooms like this one.
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I imagine groups of kids laughing.
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There were many classrooms with these single iron beds. This is where the Khmer Rouge tortured their victims. I will never understand.
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One of the buildings of classrooms had been divided up into tiny wooden cells.
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In this building passageways were knocked out between the former classrooms.
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I went into cell No.18 and shut the door behind me. This cell was windowless and very narrow. I have no idea how many people would have been crammed into the cells. Just being alone in there for a few minutes was terrifying.
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Jen RahnThe presence of your shadow in this space feels like courageous compassion.

On the other side of the world I light a figurative candle to offer peace to all who suffered there.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnExactly right, Jen. Thank you.
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2 months ago
In one of the other buildings the Khmer Rouge had built tiny cells divided by crude brick walls.
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Ankle shackles
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The blackboard still remains in this "classroom."
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Ankle shackles
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This was originally the playground area of the school. There were ropes for the kids to climb. The Khmer Rouge used the ropes to tie people by their ankles and lower them into these ceramic water barrels. They hung people as well.
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The next few images are possibly some of the last things many of the victims ever saw.
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The museum now provides audio in many languages trying to explain what went on there.
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lovebruce

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Kristen ArnimBruce,

Truly, truly gutting. Though it feels strange to “love” anything about what these photos depict, I appreciate you sharing what happened there through your frame. I heard children laughing and felt the crush of despair that lived in those walls.

And as I touched more and more of the hearts I imagined, not simply ‘loving’ a photo, but sending more and more love out into the world, and perhaps, in some small way, combat the utter cruelty that lives inside humanity.

Thank you, as always, for sharing what you experience, as you uniquely see it, as Bruce Photos, at Bike Friday speed.
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2 months ago
Janet GeeI visited the memorial/museum at the Killing Fields a few years back, and the feelings are the same. Chilling, sobering, frightening, yet actually well done, with a professionally produced audio guide. I couldn’t face doing the school as well, so appreciated your input.

Enjoy Cambodia. Do not wear white bike shirts on rainy days - the orange mud acts just like a permanent dye.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Kristen ArnimKristen, Thank you for understanding perfectly what I was trying to convey. To 'like' one of these photos is to care about humanity. You got it, as you always do. I wasn't going to put these photos out there but now I'm glad I did. Thank you again.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Janet GeeI know what you mean, Janet. We have not been able to go to the Killing Fields. One of these places is enough.

Yes, we were in a town in eastern Cambodia, Ban Lung, years ago. All the roads were red dirt and it was the dry season. Red dust on everything. Some of our clothes changed color. We started calling the town Bad Lung. I think there is still red dust on my day pack.
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2 months ago