Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sala Trapeang Sva today

The white-washed stupa at Sala Trapeang Sva
The stupa at Sala Trapeang Sva is full of the remains of victims of the Pol Pot regime
At Ta Prohm temple in Tonle Bati, I asked about getting a boat to Sala Trapeang Sva and the guys lazing in hammocks told me that in the dry season, it was easy to visit the genocide memorial by road. Retracing our steps a few kilometres back along Route 2, we took a dusty red-dirt road for ten minutes before spying the white-washed memorial in a field next to an open-sided sala. I could see a pagoda in the distance but there were no houses anywhere in sight, in an area of deserted scrub-land. The writing on the stupa indicated it was built in 1999, there was no lock on the door and the shrine was full to brimming with human bones and a few skulls. Wax on the floor by the door suggested that remembrance services had taken place in the past but there was no-one to ask if they would take place in the future. The DC-Cam records indicate that more than 95 mass grave pits were discovered at the site and around 10,000 victims were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime in the immediate vicinity. The sala next door was adorned with colourful paintings depicting scenes from the Pol Pot years, which I will post separately. Away from any village or even a pagoda, Sala Trapeang Sva appears to be a forgotten and lonely place, though the villagers we asked along the route all knew of its existence.
Some of the remains of 10,000 victims found at the site in mass graves
Only a few skulls remain inside the stupa at Sala Trapeang Sva

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