Khmer Rouge [Communism] Pol Pot (1928-1998)

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Cambodia (1975-1979)

Population (1975) 7-8 mil.

80% Khmer

Agricultural society

Khmer Rouge [Communism]

Pol Pot (1928-1998)

Forced rural labor

Evacuate cities

Peasant supremacy

Racism (dehumanization)

Territorial ambitions

S-21 prison photographs

1.4-2.2 million dead (as high as 20% of population)
The Killing Fields (1984)

Story of Cambodian journalist, Dith Pran (1942-2008)

nominated for 7 Academy Awards
Excerpts from

François Ponchaud, Cambodia: Year Zero (1978)

A Physician's Description of His Prison Camp

When we got out of the train at the station in Sisophon a reception committee was waiting for us. Loudspeakers welcomed us and asked all "specialists" to step forward: doctors, architects, schoolteachers, students, technicians, and skilled workers of all kinds. The Angkar was going to need them. I didn't move, but a man who had been a nurse under me and was now a Khmer Rouge cadre recognized me and strongly advised me to tell them my true identity or risk punishment. Then all the "specialists" were taken to Preah Neth Preah, where we had to work the land as before. One day we were taken to Chup, a village on the road between Siem Reap and Sisophon. There the Khmer Rouge received us with open arms and gave us three meals a day! That was a real treat! At one big meeting, attended by 397 "specialists," a Khmer Rouge asked us to write our biographies and set down our desiderata. He even invited us to come up to the platform and offer our suggestions as to bow the country could be better run. Teachers and students went up and began criticizing the Angkar for not giving people anything to eat, and for treating the sick with medicine that was more like rabbit dung than real pills; they asked for the bonzes to be reinstated and the pagodas reopened, and the high schools and universities, and for everyone to be allowed to visit his family, et cetera.

The Khmer Rouge said nothing, but we could see plainly enough that they didn't like it. After we had written our autobiographies they called out the names of twenty young people who had been most outspoken in their criticism, tied their hands behind their backs the way you tie a parrot's wings, and took them to Sisophon, where they were put in prison.

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