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WHEN THE WORLD TURNS ITS HEAD AWAY FROM THE KILLING FIELDS

Rafal Barnaś and Dr. Jakub Krzemiński

Warsaw / September 7, 2020


One day Khmer Rouge (that is how Cambodian communists called themselves) trucks filled with prisoners drove up to the house where a young man lived with his wife and several children. It was in 1977. The Khmer Rouge group leader ordered the prisoners to dig pits that were supposed to become their mass grave. Then he walked over to the confused owner of the house and handed him a sharp knife. The communist boss told the young man that in a moment several hundred prisoners were going to kneel in front of the pits and he was to cut all their throats open. If the man refused to do that his wife and children would die in a way more brutal way than the prisoners.

How did it happen that such cruel crimes took place in Cambodia in view of the world? How was it possible that the Khmer Rouge regime could have murdered, according to various estimates, from 25% to 35% of its own population? Why was the world silent? How is it possible that the regime leader Pol Pot, educated at the Sorbonne in Paris, organized such a large-scale genocide? Why was there no tribunal for the Cambodian “killing fields” and no one has been charged with that crime?

In the 1970s, Cambodia was a poor, backward country ruled by King Sihanouk, where 90% of the population were peasants. During the Vietnam War in eastern Cambodia, American air strikes on Vietcong bases over there led to the deaths of nearly 100,000 civilians. In 1970, General Lon Nol carried out a coup and seized power with the help of the CIA. In an attempt to regain power, King Sihanouk entered into an alliance with the communist Khmer Rouge movement, led by Saloth Sar also known as Pol Pot, who had founded the Cambodian communist party with other intellectuals educated in France.

On April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge entered the capital of Phnom Penh forcing the government and US troops to flee the country. Immediately after taking power, the Khmer Rouge began implementing the new communist system in their country. Schools, hospitals and factories were closed, banks and money in general were abolished, religion was banned, private property was confiscated, and the city population was forced to leave for the countryside to the so-called “collective farms” that were de facto forced labor camps. The camps were guarded by children-soldiers whom the regime considered “unspoiled” by the old system.


The Khmer Rouge systematically murdered all people who had or could have any connection with the previous regime, as well as all professionals and intellectuals - even for the mere fact of wearing glasses or too delicate hands. The murders were usually performed with pickaxes, shovels or metal rods as the bullets were considered too expensive.



On January 7, 1979, the Commander of the 4th Infantry Division, Heng Samrin, supported by the Vietnamese, captured Phnom Penh and overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime forcing its leaders and followers to retreat into the jungle in the western part of the country.

Thanks to the American protection, the Khmer Rouge received financial aid and enjoyed food supplies from the World Food Program. At the same time, the CIA conducted a propaganda campaign to whiten the Khmer Rouge. One of its manifestations was the publication of a report which presented a fivefold lower number of the victims of the Democratic Kampuchea regime. The communist regime's position was further improved by their recognition (by the votes of Western states and their allies) as the legitimate representatives of Cambodia at the UN. And it goes without mentioning that from the day of its birth, the Khmer Rouge enjoyed almost unlimited support on behalf of communist China.

No single representative of the Khmer Rouge regime took the consequences of the genocide, while the influence of the Khmer Rouge is visible to this day, as that communist regime was one of the bloodiest on Earth.

Today, we are watching something similar today, meaning the reaction of the world community to the genocide of Belarusians, carried out by the regime of the war criminal Lukashenko who enjoys the support of another regime headed by the war criminal and terrorist Putin. If we put Lukashenko in the place of Pol Pot, and Russia in the place of China, the picture would look quite similar. In that case, Poland and the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) could be put in the place of Vietnam. The United States, indistinctly mumbling through the Trump administration, still would remain where it was in the 1970s. France would remain in its place as well, just like when it was providing ideological fodder for Pol Pot during his studies at the Sorbonne. That included the encouragement of Pol Pot's notoriously fanatical fascination with the Jacobin terror during the “Great” French Revolution of 1789.


Germany could also be added to the above powers, as all of them pursue a single goal - control over Belarus after the overthrow of Lukashenka, who, by the way, has not been included into the EU sanctions lists at the request of France and Germany, despite the fact that Poland and the Baltic countries insist on Lukashenka's inclusion into those lists. The reason for that is that both the leaders of France and Germany seem to be panicky afraid of possible growth of Polish and Baltic influence in Belarus.

Just like in the case of Cambodia, the ruling circles of these states regard the genocide of Belarusians only as one of the factors of their influence. And just like the Khmer Rouge regime, the Lukashenka regime takes advantage of such circumstances.

But, as we already mentioned that in our previous articles, such a situation in the very center of Europe is fraught not only with a national catastrophe for Belarus. It can be the overture of another devastating war in the European theater which, in turn, can set the whole world on fire.

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© 2019 Katie Alberts  

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