Cambodian Genocide In Elie Wiesel's Night

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In 1944, a Polish-Jewish lawyer came up with the word, “genocide.” However, even seventy-five years later, many people still debate what factors go into making a genocide. Of course, there is mass murder, mistreatment of large groups of people, and difficult life conditions. Take the Cambodian Genocide, for example. People were tortured and killed so much during this genocide that at one of the death camps, “as few as 12 managed to survive” (Pierpaoli). People were robbed, killed, forced to evacuate their homes, and mistreated in many other ways during the Cambodian Genocide. These people had to live in terrible conditions. The same thing goes for what the reader sees of the Holocaust in Elie Wiesel’s Night. Throughout the book, the reader…show more content…
Alienation is when one is segregated from a society that one should or has belonged to. In both genocides, alienation was initiated before the decimation of the targeted groups. For the jews, There were many laws put in place to separate the Jews from the community. One of the first ones was that Jews were forbidden to exit their homes, “under penalty of death.” There were many other things that alienated the Jews from the rest of the community, like the police searchings of their property and being forced to give up valuables (Wiesel 10). Not only that, but the Jews were also forced to wear a star to show their separation from the rest of society. Plus, when the Jews were forced into ghettos, they were so far alienated that they believed that living in these horrible living conditions was a good thing. (Wiesel 10-11). Similarly, the alienation of specific groups of people in the Cambodian genocide was extremely harsh. Pol Pot, a leader in the Cambodian genocide that is similar to Hitler in the Holocaust, filled the people with hate of those “tainted with non-Khmer traits,” such as having an education, speaking a different tongue, or having a minority background (Bergin 33-34). These non-Khmers were given the title of the “old people,” and the rest of the community was called the “new people” (Bergin 29). In addition to this, the rich were displaced from their…show more content…
For those who are unsure, oppression is the mistreatment of a group for an extended interval of time. Since there are heaping amounts of oppression in both genocides, this topic will be broken up into two subtopics; the brutality and dictatorship in the prisons, and how oppression happened in other ways both preceding and during the genocides. As many know, the oppression in the prisons for the mass extinctions mentioned earlier were unbearable. In fact, according to Wiesel, the mistreatment in the prisons were so bad that having frozen bodies and holding rocks so cold that their hands could have gotten stuck was just the norm (Wiesel 78). In other words, conditions in the camps for the Jews were so bad that something like being so cold that hands got stuck on rocks was normal to them, when it seems to society that that would be one of the worst pains imaginable. In Cambodia, many prisoners were tortured through cruel and unusual ways. These tortures were so excruciating that many people confessed to things they didn’t do to make it stop. The soldiers of these camps placed the prisoners in small, lonely jail cells, tied up and unable to move. Since they couldn’t move they were unable to get to a toilet or any of the other hygiene amenities. Not only that, but the food there was little and barely edible (Pierpaoli). Oppression out of the
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