The Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979, in which an estimated 1.7 million people lost their lives (approximately 21% of the country's population), was one of the worst human tragedies of the last century. The Khmer Rouge, headed by Pol Pot, combined extremist ideology, ethnic animosity, and a disregard for human life to carry murder on a massive scale.
To understand Cambodia and appreciate the delicacy of the situation, one probably has to know something of its history. Pol Pot (Saloth Sar) was a significant player in formulating Cambodia’s recent history. The majority of people in the world recognize Cambodia as an underdeveloped country just like any other. What the majority does not recognize are the atrocities that people in this country had to experience in the 70s when the Khmer Rouge was at it’s height of savagery.
Pol Pot was a man without conscience and he lacked the most basic human values and preyed on the innocent and naive citizens of Cambodia. All of this murder was done in the name of building a communist regime.
In the years that the Khmer Rouge was in power (around 5 years), almost 1/3 of the country’s men, women, children were killed. Many were tortured for long periods of time, sometimes for more than 3 years. For years there was mass-murder in progress and the world didn’t even know about it until it was almost too late. Much of what we understand about the Pol Pot regime was depicted in the movie “The Killing Fields.” By talking to natives of Cambodia that lived near the killing fields we were able to hear first hand accounts of the atrocities that went on at Cheung Ek. It is chilling to hear about the bloody past that this country had gone through, with millions of people being executed in the public, starved to death and severely tortured. For a better understanding of what had happened, perhaps it’s best that you further your investigation by reading the many reports that are available on the internet. If you are interested in reading more about the testimonies of Khmer people who lived during the Pol Pot regime please proceed to “The Death of Pol Pot”.
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