Saturday, 16 August 2014

On the Khmer Rouge trial.

I've written about Cambodia and the period of Angkar rule (1975-79) in the past. So I felt it necessary to cover the recent verdicts at the trial of Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea. It is an obscenity that the core of the leadership has gotten away with it all. Khieu Samphan may be the biggest prize here, but it would have been a great day to see Saloth Sar (a.k.a. "Pol Pot") in the dock. It would have been even better to have seen Henry Kissinger in the dock with him for his part in sanctioning the illegal bombing of Cambodia which precipitated the rise of the Khmer Rouge. Here's a snippet:

The Khmer Rouge got off easy. No act of genocide is as misunderstood as the murderous campaign that the Maoist revolutionaries undertook during the second half of the 1970s. Two million Cambodians were murdered in the space of four years. The scale of the killings, and the ruthlessness with which they were conducted, shocked the West, which was still struggling to get its head around the Holocaust, just three decades earlier.

The idea that an anti-colonial conflict, so soon afterwards, had turned so barbarous, was particularly difficult to digest, especially in the context of popular resentment against the war in Vietnam. The people, so to speak, had proven no better than the imperialists, first the French, and then the Americans, who had spent the better part of the post-war period trying to stamp out the threat of socialism in Southeast Asia, killing millions, themselves.

There are many inconvenient truths about the Khmer Rouge. Like the fact that Prince Sihanouk embraced Pol Pot as an ally, along with Ronald Reagan, and George HW Bush, against the Vietnamese forces which removed the Khmer Rouge in 1979. That the Western powers provided food and training as long as they were 'resisting' Vietnam's occupation. John Pilger and Peter Jennings have both covered this.

No comments: