The Cambodian Genocide

More on this horror

The Cambodian genocide was carried out by Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot, who radically pushed Cambodia towards communism. It resulted in the deaths of 1.5 to 2 million people from 1975 to 1979, nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s 1975 population.

After capturing Phnom Penh, on April 17th, 1975, Pol Pot and the communist leaders set out straight away to transform the country into a classless society based on Marxist ideals. They forced people to relocate to the Cambodian countryside from the cities. They forced Cambodian people to work on collective farms and transform the country into an agrarian-based economy.

Pol Pot’s regime also executed thousands of people it had deemed as enemies of the state. Those seen as intellectuals, or potential leaders of a revolutionary movement, were also executed.

Hundreds of thousands of the educated, middle-class Cambodians were tortured and executed in special centers established in the cities, the most infamous of which was Tuol Sleng jail in Phnom Penh, where nearly 17,000 men, women and children were imprisoned during the regime’s four years in power.

The Khmer targeted different groups, including: ethnic Vietnamese, ethnic Chinese, Christians and Buddhists. 

Eventually Khmer Rouge was overthrown but not before a quarter of the country’s population was decimated.


My Take

This is a really dark history in the history of humanity. Much of the world has probably forgotten about Pol Pot’s heinous crimes. Since then we have had Rwandan genocide and many other conflicts between different communities. It is a sad testament to the brutality of humans,

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