Genocide In Cambodia Essay

938 words - 4 pages

Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia that is less than half the size of California. It achieved independence from France in 1953. During the Vietnam War, the Prime Minister adopted neutrality, however, he was kicked out in a coup by his own general Lon Nol. Lon Nol was overthrown by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in 1975. In 1975, there was a genocide in Cambodia, led by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, that shook the country of 7.1 million, leading to over 1 million deaths.
The term “genocide” was established by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer who fled from Germany in 1941. Lemkin combined the term “genos”, meaning race or tribe, and “cide” meaning to kill, to create the word genocide. ...view middle of the document...

Pol Pot used this information to manipulate the citizens. The Khmer Rouge had the belief that the people were tainted by Western ideas and that the people work for the greater good of their communities. Because of this, they persecuted the educated such as doctors, lawyers, and former military and police. Those who refused “re-education” were killed in the fields by the communes that all citizens were forced to live in. Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims were also persecuted. Citizens were divided into sections by the Khmer Rouge, each based on the level of trust towards them. There were “old citizens”, the most trustworthy in the Khmer Rouge’s eyes, and then “new citizens”, who were the least trustworthy. New citizens could move up to the position of “deportees”, then “candidates”, and then “full rights citizens”. However, there was very little actual movement from new citizens and full rights citizens. The ultimate goal of the Khmer Rouge was to bring back Cambodia to what Pol Pot called “Year Zero”, where all citizens would live “without any Western influence”. Citizens were to live in collective farms and work together.
In Cambodia, there was a total of 432 mass graves, 20,442 pits, 50 or so wells used for graves, 125 prisons, and 1,112,829 reported victims. However, many Cambodians believe that more than 3 million people died. Many Americans dismissed the fact, saying that it was just “Vietnamese propaganda”. There was some truth to the belief however. In the 80’s the Cambodian government issued surveys to the heads of families, asking for how many relatives had died during Pol Pot’s regime. However, there were too many flaws in the design for the number to have been accurate.
Many Cambodians felt ignored by the...

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