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Cambodia Genocide What Happened Then

Author : Rahmi Hidayat

Submitted : 2010-03-08 05:40:26    Word Count : 621    Popularity:   48

Tags:   cambodia genocide, cambodian genocide, pol pot, khmer rouge regime

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We are in the year 1970. Cambodia, a country within South East Asia has just broken out into a civil war due to conflicts between Prince Sihanouk, who has recently joined forces with a fierce communist organization, and Lon Nol the newly posted president of the Khmer Republic .

However, nobody could have imagined what would come next; the Cambodia genocide was just around the corner. This guerrilla communist organization that I speak of is more commonly known as the Khmer Rouge . Formed sometime in the 1960s, it was still a relatively small group in 1970. Their leader, Pol Pot was deeply fascinated by the principles of Chinese communism. Around the time of the civil war and the onslaught of the American army, Cambodian citizens started to follow his rule as opposed to conforming with Lon Nol and his cooperation with America. With support from communists of both China and North Vietnam, the Khmer Rouge received training and grew to over 700,000 men by 1975.

With the Khmer Rouge organization and invading communists from Vietnam, Lon Nol was quickly defeated. It took a matter of days for Pol Pot to step in as the leader of Cambodia, diminishing the former government and commencing with a merciless program to regenerate the country under ideals very similar to that of a communist China. He imposed that each and every citizen must carry out work within a huge formation of collective farms. Anyone who dared to object would be eradicated, including intellectuals or professionals who even without obvious objection, were put to death on the assumption that they might. Not only that, but all former traditions of Cambodian society were turned over if they did not consent with his ideals. So monstrous were these killings that they would later be referred to as the Cambodian genocide.

Thousands had to flee their homes to sacrifice themselves to hard labor. With no regards to age or sickness, inhabitants would be killed if they didn t agree with the terms. Absolutely nobody was safe from Pol Pots grasp, who would order death to anyone on the grounds that they refused his regime. He was a very remorseless man who has left a gigantic scar across the face of Cambodia and its people.

So extreme was his rule that he even forced the closure of schools, hospitals, and factories. Religion was just another cause for death, in particular Buddhism, with many monks being murdered and their places of worship pulled down and demolished. Even those too afraid to protest could be shot down for simply laughing or listening to the radio. Every citizen was just as vulnerable as the next.

You would be wrong to believe that they had any loyalties for working such long hours on labor camps. They received no pay for their efforts and very little food or water. It was inevitable that they would become exhausted, starved, and prone to sicknesses of which there was no cure only death.

In 1978, troops from Vietnam were sent to Cambodia to attack the Khmer Rouge and rid their neighboring country of any links with China, with whom they had their own troubles. Another war that went on to last nearly a decade, killing thousands more in the ceasefire, and resulting in Vietnam setting up a temporary government within Phnom Penh. Pol Pots regime retreated to the jungles of the west and began to collapse. In 1993, the former monarch Prince Sihanouk was chosen to lead the new government and finally some peace was brought back to the land torn apart by the Cambodia genocide.

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Rahmi Hidayat writes and maintains the contents of the Holiday In Angkor Wat website, a resource website for first time and repeat visitors to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Click here for more articles on Cambodia Genocide - http://www.holiday-in-angkor-wat.com/cambodia-genocide.html

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