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Pol Pot, The Khmer Rouge, And Cambodian Genocide

1198 words - 5 pages

The Communist Party of Kampuchea, also known as the Khmer Rouge, took control of Cambodia on April 17, 1975, which lasted until January 1979. For their three-year, eight-month, and twenty-one day rule of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge committed some of the most heinous crimes in current history. The main leader who orchestrated these crimes was a man named Pol Pot. In 1962, Pol Pot had become the coordinator of the Cambodian Communist Party. The Prince of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, did not approve of the Party and forced Pol Pot to flee to exile in the jungle. There, Pol formed a fortified resistance movement, which became known as the Khmer Rouge, and pursued a guerrilla war against Sihanouk’s government. As Pol Pot began to accumulate power, he ruthlessly imposed an extremist system to restructure Cambodia. Populations of Cambodia's inner-city districts were vacated from their homes and forced to walk into rural areas to work. All intellectuals and educated people were eradicated and together with all un-communist aspects of traditional Cambodian society. The remaining citizens were made to work as laborers in various concentration camps made up of collective farms. On these farms, people would harvest the crops to feed their camps. For every man, woman, and child it was mandatory to labor in the fields for twelve to fifteen hours each day. An estimated two million people, or twenty-one percent of Cambodia's population, lost their lives and many of these victims were brutally executed. Countless more of them died of malnourishment, fatigue, and disease. Ethnic groups such as the Vietnamese, Chinese, and Cham Muslims were attacked, along with twenty other smaller groups. Fifty percent of the estimated 425,000 Chinese living in Cambodia in 1975 perished. On December 25, 1978, Vietnam initiated an invasion of Cambodia, finalizing Khmer Rouge border attacks. On January 7, 1979, Phnom Penh fell and Pol Pot was deposed. These events were later to be known as the Cambodian Genocide.
Ever since the actions in Cambodia occurred, it has been debated whether it was an actual genocide. The general definition of genocide is the purposeful and methodical execution of a national, racial, political, or cultural group. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia demonstrated that a government can be guilty of genocide against its own nation. The radical communist party led by Pol Pot took over Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. After 1979, the Khmer Rouge left a traumatized Cambodian culture that continues to undergo the repercussions of the genocide. People over the age of forty in Cambodia have stories to tell of fear, cruelty, hunger and the loss of family members. However, the Cambodian government is not making an effort to recognize the negative occurrences that have posed itself in the history of their culture.
After the Pol Pot invasion ended and Cambodian began to heal from its past, Prime Minister Hun Sen came into power. He conducted a socialist-democratic government in...

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