Cambodian Genocide Causes

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Causes of the Cambodian Genocide
The Cambodian genocide took place from 1975 to 1979; it is estimated that some two million Cambodians were systematically murdered by the Khmer Rouge and its followers (Power 90). In Alexander Hinton’s article, “A Head for an Eye” he recounts in details the experience of Gen, a survivor of the Cambodian Genocide. After the Lon Nol government was overthrown by the Khmer Rouge, the Communists began their witch-hunt in an attempt to identify and kill anyone who was associated with the former regime, as well as the educated, the Vietnamese, the Muslim Cham, the Buddhist monks, and other “bourgeois elements” (Power 101). During the investigation, it was revealed that Gen’s father was a teacher–this fact alone was
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Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge, is no ordinary dictator; he was highly driven by the ideology of total revolution which had four separate, but related components. First, and most important of all, is the push for total independence and self-reliance, second, the dictatorship of the proletariat, third, total and immediate economic revolution, and lastly, a complete transformation of Khmer social values (Jackson 135). To implement this ideology of total revolution, the Khmer Rouge had to resort to permanent purges in order to eliminate all potential competitors and to “create a society with no past and no alternatives” (Jackson 137). Pol Pot divided Cambodian society into five classes: the working, the peasants the bourgeoisie, the capitalist, and the feudal class. However, in an effort to create an egalitarian society, the only acceptable classes were the “workers, peasants, and the revolutionary army” (Jackson 136). In April of 1975, the Communist party had gained enough power to capture the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Once capturing the city, the communists began emptying it of its inhabitants and replacing them with peasants. Along with the inhabitants, the communists destroyed Western consumer goods, burned books and libraries, severed most of its diplomatic relations, abolished money, and markets. Evidently, the ideology of total revolution could only be carried out through mass bloodshed and destruction; in the words of Franz Fanon: “true liberation cannot come without violence and that the only true revolutionaries are those who participate directly in the shedding of blood” (Jackson
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