Cambodian Genocide Case Study

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The Cambodian Genocide is one of the least known, yet most tragic and deadly genocides that happened in the 20th century. With the aim to restore the glory of pre-colonial times, which was to be achieved by purifying the Cambodian population, from 1975 to 1979 the Khmer Rouge regime killed between two and three million of the 8 million population (Kissi, 2004).
The victims of the regime were the Vietnamese minority, which was completely swept out of the country by deportations or mass killing, the Cham Muslims and Buddhists, who were either completely transformed or massacred, and half of the half million large Chinese community, which was either worked to death or deported (Kissi, 2004). However, while the regime relentlessly
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Mukimbiri (2003) used the framework in analyzing the genocide in Rwanda, whereby here I apply and contrast the case of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.
Setting the stage
When analyzing the different stages of the Khmer Rouge action, as Cribb (2003) notes, it is important to realize the desperation of life in Cambodian villages in the 1950s and 1960s. Here the reasons and happenings that lead to the rise of this violent regime are outlined.
Pol Pot, the regime leader and face of the Khmer Rouge, was an ethnic Khmer, who grew up in Cambodia, but was educated in Paris, France. During his time in France, he grew fond of the communist ideas by joining the French Communist Party and began to see extreme communism as the answer to post-colonial problems back home.
Inspired by Mao’s ‘great leap forward’ plan in China, he dreamt up his own ‘super great leap forward’ of Cambodia. Unlike the orginial “Great Leap Forward”, Pot’s plan aimed to achieve the exact opposite of industrialization – a complete return to the agricultural lifestyle that prevailed during the golden years of Cambodia in the 12th century (Levene,

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