Monday, December 6, 2010

Pol Pot and the Triumph of the Revolution

The hell of “Democratic Kampuchea” in which millions died, as described by the Mad Monarchist:
King Sihanouk was placed under house arrest, a number of the royal family were killed and Pol Pot unleashed a reign of terror unsurpassed even amongst the most brutal of communists dictators around the world. Anyone with any foreign ties was killed, anyone displaying overt religious devotion was killed. The disabled were killed. Anyone with any ties to a previous government was killed. Everyone was made absolutely equal and any deviation from the new norm was punishable by death. Families were abolished since words like “mother” and “father” were hierarchical and considered superior to children so everyone became “brother” and “sister”. Anyone who referred to their parents as such were killed, a woman who referred to her husband as such was killed, anyone who used any traditional form of address was liable to be killed. The educated class was wiped out, since they would be held as superior to the uneducated and even those wearing glasses would be killed as this was taken as a symbol of intellectualism. Currency was abolished and the cities were emptied as everyone was sent to work on the communal rice fields; essentially vast slave labor camps where many city dwellers who had no experience growing their own food quickly died. Hordes of people died of starvation and hundreds of thousands were executed.

Over the years Pol Pot became more paranoid and had many of his own allies, even lifelong supporters put to death as well. The notorious prison, essentially a massive torture chamber, S-21 or Tuol Sleng was set up for anyone accused of being an enemy of the regime or an agent of the CIA. People were tortured, often by electrocution, to give up names of accomplices, most of whom had never heard of the CIA or had the slightest idea what the initials meant. However, people would give any number of names to make the torture stop and these people then were arrested and given similar treatment. To save bullets most of those executed were taken to the countryside, beaten to death and buried in mass graves. It is estimated that as many as 2 million Cambodians died during Pol Pot’s reign of terror. The rest of the world was outraged at the reports that emerged from the secretive, nightmarish hell on earth that was “Democratic Kampuchea”. However, many governments in the west gave subtle support to the regime of Pol Pot and even King Sihanouk, despite being constantly kicked around by the Khmer Rouge, stuck up for them in the UN.


gsk said...

A good personal account is "First They Killed My Father"

Often we glaze over at the enormity of the statistics, but one family's tragedy drives it all home.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you for the reference, gsk. When we read of individual experiences then the magnitude of the horror is brought home!

lara77 said...

Elena Maria, I pray that when Pol Pot crossed to the other side he learned first hand that their is someone much greater and more powerful than he could ever wish to be. I hope he was finally judged! God bless the victims of his murderous regime.