Monday, July 26, 2010
The Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian Genocide
Across Cambodia people crowded in cafes and houses to watch the broadcast live on television. There was widespread outrage at the verdict. many had demanded he be imprisoned for the rest of his life. As one man pointed out he would be spending just 11 hours in jail for each of the murders he oversaw as head of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison. The Cambodians have earned their right to anger. Their suffering has been great and so far retribution pitiful.
Rising to power in 1975 the Maoist leadership of Cambodia was one of the most brutal of all time. In the 4 years in whihc it reigned over the people of Cambodia it succeeded in the mass genocide of over 20% of the countries population. its philosophy was that of agrarian socialism which professes the benefits of an agricultural based existence and socialist economic policy.
From 1976 the leader of the Khmer Rouge movement was Pol Pot, easily one of the most inhumane leaders of the 20th century. Following on from the Maoist anti intellectual doctrine. He had all educated people put to death. he even had those who wore glasses killed as this to him was a sign of their literacy. He also killed anyone of any ethnic minority and Cambodian Christians, even though a blanket wide ban on religion was enforced. Also anyone attempting to practice any kind of capitalism meet a similar fate.
All urban centres were emptied in favour of collectivised rural settlements. the lack of knowledge of urban dwellers about agriculture made famine and starvation inevitable. All money was gotten rid of and children were separated as they were more easily brainwashed than their parents. Many children lead torture camps and murders and education was completely forbidden. Not only was religion banned but many of the pagados in the majority Buddhist country were turned into prisons. All forms of long distance communication were also outlawed meaning separated families couldn't get in contact with each other.
The group survived after it was forced to move to the Thai border by an invasion by the Vietnamese in 1979. It was backed by the UN as the rightful Government in Cambodia and did not fully dissolve itself until 1999. Today, marks the first sentencing of one of the regimes brutal slaughterers. Pol Pot died in 1998 under suspicious circumstances without a trial. The court set up for the trials will soon announce whether it will try four more of the regimes top officials. If it does a verdict is not expected till 2014 at the earliest by which time many will be dead. Also there is distinct resistance to the trails from Cambodian Government where many Khmer Rouge servants still carry weight. It seems further justice may be a distant dream in a nation that has bore more than its fair share of suffering.