Thursday, July 14, 2011

Enemies Of The People

Right after the war in Vietnam ended, the ultra-communist group known as the Khmer Rouge took over leadership of Vietnam's neighboring country, Cambodia.

The Khmer Rouge period (1975–1979) refers to the rule of Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen, Khieu Samphan and the Khmer Rouge Communist party over Cambodia, which the Khmer Rouge renamed as Democratic Kampuchea.

The Khmer Rouge subjected Cambodia to a radical social reform process that was aimed at creating a purely agrarian-based Communist society. They attempted to rebuild the country's agriculture on the model of the 11th century, discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. The city-dwellers were deported to the countryside, where they were combined with the local population and subjected to forced labor, or sent to the Killing Fields.

About two-million Cambodians are estimated to have died in waves of murder, torture, and starvation, aimed particularly at the educated and intellectual elite. It has also been estimated that, in a country of over seven-million people at that time, only four physicians and seven pharmacists survived (pdf) the genocide.

The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly one-third of the population in the late 1970s. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain largely unexplained. That is until now.

Enter Thet Sambath, an unassuming, yet cunning, investigative journalist who lost his family in the conflict and spent a decade gaining the trust of the men and women who perpetrated the massacres. From the foot soldiers who slit the throats of men, women, and children to Pol Pot's right-hand man, the notorious Brother Number Two, Sambath and co-director Rob Lemkin record shocking testimony never before seen or heard, in Enemies of the People.

The full version of Enemies of the People can be watched for free until 08/12/2011 on the PBS Video, POV website. Here's the trailer -

2 comments:

  1. Also known as Brother Number Three, former senior Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary has died, Cambodia's UN-backed court has announced.

    As foreign minister, Ieng Sary was said to have been responsible for convincing many educated Cambodians who had fled the Khmer Rouge to return to help rebuild the country.

    Many were then tortured and executed as part of the purge of intellectuals.

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  2. The court, dogged from the outset by allegations of corruption, political interference and profligacy, had spent $175.3 million by the end of last year and handed down just one conviction - that of S-21's former prison chief, Kaing Guek Eav, alias "Duch", who was jailed for life for the deaths of more than 14,000 people. He has repeatedly said he was "just following orders".

    Source: Khmer Rouge genocide - justice delayed may be justice denied

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