In 1975, the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia with a mission to transform the country and its entire people into a communist state. The Rogue evacuated millions of civilians from their homes and into labor camps where they experienced all sorts of tragedy such as starvation, torture, abuse and execution. An estimated 1.7 million died while being controlled in these camps.
The main person behind the destruction was a man name Pol Pot. He would go on to create one of the most devastating mass killings in global history. Although the story of the Khmer Rouge is widely known, there are still many facts about the Cambodian genocide that the public is not aware of:
facts you may not have known:
- Unlike other genocides, the Khmer Rouge did not target a specific ethnic group, but rather their own doctors, teachers, minorities, people with education, children and even babies.
- Pol Pot wanted the nation to revert to a self-sufficient way of living where money had no influence in society. As a result of this desire, most of the population was pushed out of the cities and into rural regions to work as forced labor.
- Due to the Vietnam War and the loss by the United States, the Khmer Rouge did not go under international investigation.
- A place that went from neglect, Hollywood began to showcase the story about the Khmer Rouge by producing films such as “The Killing Fields”.
- The ECCC (Extraordinary chambers in the courts of Cambodia was established in 1997 and they were helped by the United Nations. This was a tribunal to try the senior leaders of the Rogue for mass crimes committed during the genocide.
- In 1997, Pol Pot was sentenced to house arrest. He died a year later never facing a trial for his crimes, leaving behind millions of people who never had the chance to bring him to justice.
Although the genocide may have only lasted 4 years, the dark cloud still hangs over the heads of the Cambodians and they continue to try and re-build what they once have. With something on this scale, it may take decades to come, but the strength of the people is a true inspiration.