The Killing Fields

October 27th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

This is the main memorial at Choeung Ek, the most famous of the Killing Fields.

It is difficult to imagine how barbaric the rule of the communist Khmer Rouge was. They killed around two million of their own citizens, which was 25% of the population. Our tour guide has his uncle killed by the Khmer Rouge. His crime – he was a professor.

The Khmer Rouge wanted to kill anyone suspected of “free-market” activities and suspected capitalists included professionals, almost everyone with an education, and urban dwellers.

Over 300 people a day were killed at Choeung Ek, in total 17,000 executed. Around 9,000 bodies are buried here. This mass grave has around 160 bodies in it.

The rule of the Khmer Rouge was beyond insane. To quote Wikipedia:

During their four years in power, the Khmer Rouge overworked and starved the population, at the same time executing selected groups who they believed to be enemies of the state or spies or had the potential to undermine the new state. People who they perceived to be intellectuals or even those that had stereotypical signs of learning, such as glasses, would also be killed. People would also be executed for attempting to escape the communes or for breaching minor rules. If caught, offenders were taken quietly off to a distant forest or field after sunset and killed.

All religion was banned by the Khmer Rouge. Any people seen taking part in religious rituals or services would be executed. Several Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians were killed for exercising their beliefs. Family relationships not sanctioned by the state were also banned, and family members could be put to death for communicating with each other. Married couples were only allowed to visit each other on a limited basis. If people were seen being engaged in sexual activity, they would be killed immediately.

A photo of the remains as they were excavated.

Those without heads tended to be Vietnamese, who were especially hated. Even today, there is still a lot of friction. Our Cambodian guide spent a lot of time telling us about the evils inflicted on by Vietnam, and saying how he couldn’t tell us this in front of his boss, who is Vietnamese.

Another photo.

Each of those depressions is a mass grave.

The memorial has over 5,000 human skulls in it.

A sombre and ghastly memorial, which sears your soul. This happened in my lifetime. The executions were often carried out using poison, spades, sharpened bamboo sticks, or for children having their heads bashed against the trunks of trees.

It is hard to not be affected by the knowledge of what happened at this site, and all over Cambodia. Afterwards no-one spoke for a long time.

I hope there is a hell, just so Pol Pot and his comrades can spend eternity there.  Their crimes almost have no parallel.

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37 Responses to “The Killing Fields”

  1. Mark (496 comments) says:

    And lefties all over the world supported the Khmer Rouge, and today they have no shame. That tells me a lot about about the type of people they are.

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  2. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Well said Mark.

    Year Zero was 1975

    There are still politicians active today in New Zealand who were cheer leaders for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

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  3. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    “All religion was banned by the Khmer Rouge.”

    They would have had the support of a large percentage of the secular progressive Kiwiblog commenters then. Bigot Bruv/ Fot for a well known example.

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  4. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Yet compared to the Nazis/Soviets they were but amateurs at killing!

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  5. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    No Johnboy, they were professional killers.

    Head of population, Nazi/Soviets were just girls in comparrison.

    Khmer Rouge killed 2 million out of a population of 7 million.

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  6. iMP (2,387 comments) says:

    NZer Kerry Hamill (Rob’s brother) was ocean yachting and got too close to the coast, was kidnapped, tortured for months and eventually executed. I believe there is a God, and justice; all these horrors will be reconciled and justice met for the victims. An important point to note, is that this only stopped after the Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia. So, there is a time and place to invade another country’s borders.

    The Khmer Rouge was particularly demonic, but this is not an uncommon event in human history.

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  7. Lucia Maria (2,467 comments) says:

    There is a hell. I had an argument with a guy a couple of years ago (I fear I lost it a bit there) over whether hell is eternal or not and the morality of enjoying the suffering of others in hell if one makes it to heaven. My feeling is that if there is no eternal suffering in hell, there is no justice and all those murdered as above in your post, demand justice.

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  8. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    How is your Hubby coping with all his years in purgatory Lucia? :)

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  9. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Some say earth is hell. Sometimes I would believe it.

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  10. Lucia Maria (2,467 comments) says:

    Those in purgatory are very happy, Johnboy. They know they’ll get to heaven, even though they suffer.

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  11. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Thank God for that Lucia. There is hope for all of us here yet if we manage to endure your comments! :)

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  12. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Pol Pot wanted a rural socialist agrarian based country, growing organic veges and stuff.

    Lucky for us in NZ, we don’t have any political parties like that………..

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  13. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    What’s up commies?

    Cat got your tongues?

    Thought some of you (or Reid) would sure to be here sooner or later with an example of moral equivalence.

    Having trouble finding a comparable example are we?

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  14. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Russia, China, Eastern Europe, Korea (today), South America…

    Pol Pots distinction is the percentage of the population murdered. Pol Pot was a socialist reformer, working towards a fairer more equal and environmentally sustainable society.

    Every Green Party supporter is part of this.

    Every lefty is part of this. You will never wash the blood and the stink of death and corruption off your hands. None of you have a right to live.

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  15. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    I will never forget what a Cambodian refugee told me in her broken English.

    Her Father was a doctor, mum had a small business. They were well off and lived in the city. Both things that the green party supporters hated. It was just the way she told it. No emotion. No complaining.

    “Soldier come, kill kill family”

    Her and one sibling escaped. They ran to Laos, Vietnam then a refugee camp in Thailand, then Aussie, then finally NZ.

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  16. Tautaioleua (309 comments) says:

    There are similar genocide memorial centres in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali City. Skulls & even the clothes that victims wore as they were killed are on display.

    It’s a sombre reminder of humanity and all of its imperfection.

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  17. Mark (496 comments) says:

    I agree with Redbaiter, the silence of the left is deafening which is the reason why I made the post I did, they do not like the fact what occurred is true, but are unwilling to renounce the policies that causes it to happen. In fact the will argue they should of gone further and hate dissent.

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  18. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    The Khmer Rouge were a marginalised group until after the US bombing campaign. A greater tonnage of explosives were dropped on Cambodia during the Vietnam War than the Japanese mainland during the second world war. The CIA estimate about 600,000 were killed in the initial bombing with a further 600,000 deaths caused as a consequence of the destruction of crops and infrastructure. Of course, none of this gets much attention in the ever obedient western media.

    The rise of the Khmer Rouge was a direct consequence of the US onslaught.

    The greatest admirers of the Khmer Rouge are the elites of the western establishment and their sycophantic lap-dogs as they can trot out the atrocities of these maniacs as the only alternative to the sordid mess through which we currently suffer.

    I’m no commie, but I thought I should add my 2 cents worth.

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  19. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Yoza, reckons it is all the fault of Capitalists in America. (but he is not a commie, he reassures us). The Soviet Union was not communist either, they were “socialist”. The distinction is a false one. They are both the same.

    How can murdering and torturing millions of your own people be the fault of the US?

    You are a revolting sack of shit Yoza.

    It offends me that I have to share a planet with filth like you.

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  20. DJP6-25 (1,388 comments) says:

    Mark 4:05pm. Or, to put it another way. Pond scum behaving true to form. One fine day, they’ll be seen to be just as ridiculous as their National Socialist cousins. And they’ll be just as marginalized.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  21. Dazzaman (1,140 comments) says:

    Kea (379) Says:
    October 27th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Pol Pot wanted a rural socialist agrarian based country, growing organic veges and stuff.

    Lucky for us in NZ, we don’t have any political parties like that………..

    LOL….definitely my belly laugh for the day.

    BTW, worked with a Cambodian chap who would only say something like, “Very bad time, very bad” when asked about his experiences during that time. As a matter of interest, he was aware of at least one Khmer Rouge official who had gained asylum in NZ, he had met him once at a local event…the other Cambodians were understandably very cagey around him.

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  22. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    Kea (380) Says:
    October 27th, 2012 at 6:47 pm “Yoza, reckons it is all the fault of Capitalists in America…”

    It gets better. Not only were the US directly responsible for the rise of the Khmer Rouge as a direct consequence of the carnage caused by their bombing campaign; once the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia to depose the Khmer Rouge the US and Britain began supporting them against the Vietnamese.

    All of this has been well documented, although, it has into largely disappeared into the ever present Orwellian memory hole.

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  23. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Oh, the “Orwellian memory hole”. I’m glad you mention that, Yoza.

    I suffer from that “memory hole”. That’s why I can’t remember the tens of thousands of left-wing protesters marching through the streets protesting against the genocidal atrocities in Rwanda.

    Neither can I remember them protesting against the thousands of rockets fired by the Fakestinians against Israel.

    Oh, but I DO remember the left vastly inflating the number of dead in the Iraq War – http://markhumphrys.com/iraq.dead.html

    I will save you babbling on about “nasty Israel” by mentioning Operation Cast Lead. That killed about 1400 people in three weeks. That is an average of **three per hour**. Gee – “nasty nasty Israeli Army”, ay……
    I could kill Fakestinians at **ten times that rate** just by driving around and running them over.

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  24. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Oh, and another event I can’t remember – the vast crowds of left-wingers protesting the atrocities happening ###NOW### in Syria.

    How odd……

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  25. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    Political/economic ideology combined with atheism has been the most tyrannical force on this planet so far.

    There are none so dangerous as those that seek to ban or remove freedom of religion.

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  26. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    “There are none so dangerous as those that seek to ban or remove freedom of religion.”
    Indeed, and the UN (and Islamic countries) are at the top of that list. They both want to ban criticism of religion.
    ( Actually, they *really* want to ban criticism of *Islam*, but anyway…….. ).

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  27. kowtow (8,522 comments) says:

    The silence of the left.

    Same when Hitler and Stalin teamed up to biff Poland.

    Trades unions in Britain under orders to undermine the British war effort while she stood alone.

    We don’t hear alot about that.

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  28. cha (4,036 comments) says:

    Meanwhile, way down the memory hole.

    Thatcher: “Pol Pot could not go back…but some of the Khmer Rouge of course are very different I think there are probably two parts to the Khmer Rouge there are those who supported Pol Pot and then there is a much much more reasonable grouping within that title ‘Khmer Rouge’…”

    Caron Keating: “Do you think so?”

    Thatcher :”Well that is what I’m assured by people that know…”

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  29. Dean Papa (784 comments) says:

    Yair, where are all you lefties and commies now? Hahaha.

    Geez wayne, talk about dopey old buggers. It’s a bunch of middle-aged keyboard warriors in here. What I’ve never been able to fathom is why so many align themselves with the Republican party, as if it were some how the natural thing to do. When the Nats would be more like the equivalent of the Democrats. But that’s the middle-aged yankee fanboy in NZ, I suppose. How amusing it is to hear them employ the political rhetoric of the USA. Yankee wanabee try-hards?

    Putting aside the crassness of politically motivated gloating over the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge , as Yoza has mentioned, the good ole U.S. of A did indeed support the Khmer Rouge, against the Vietnamese backed Cambodian government. You see the Yanks were really sore at losing the war in Vietnam, really really sore. So sore it would make AB fanboy hostility towards Wayne Baynes look like a passionate affair (Kissy kissy etc.)

    Historic doco, Pilgey at his best,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTmEy2GEVL8

    And the late great Chris Hitchens,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xghrs_N4Vuo

    [health warning to fanboys, esp you Red, watch at own risk, could result in steam coming out of ears!!]

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  30. radvad (767 comments) says:

    The guide who showed me the killing fields was 8 when he saw his parents taken. Their crime, his mother wore glasses so she could read and was a threat. They were never seen again.

    Pol Pot was received in Pnom Phen as a conquering hero. Within hours citizens started to disappear. The rest is a history lesson that has been forgotten before and will be forgotten again and again.

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  31. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    The Khmer Rouge wanted to kill anyone suspected of “free-market” activities and suspected capitalists included almost everyone.

    FTFY

    For those who want to label this a simple left vs. right thing, it remains a fact that the Khmer Rouge were stopped by Communist Vietnam, after which the remnants were supported by anti communist western powers. The Chinese got so mad, they invaded Vietnam. The Vietnamese are about the only people who come out of it looking good. Everyone else appears to have been quite mad.

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  32. UrbanNeocolonialist (289 comments) says:

    There is no Hell in the Bible – the modern interpretation is an invention of the Catholic Church, developed as a translation of Gehenna that is a valley in Israel with a bad reputation, in Rabbanical teachings (borrowed upon so heavily by the new testament) a place where you would be sent to be punished for a maximum of a year after death if you were a bad person. But obviously just the stick to back up the carrot of Heaven.

    If Hell existed then any loving caring religion would forbid people from having children as the chance of their ending up in hell to endure eternal torture is far too high a price to pay for a brief and difficult existence on earth.

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  33. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    There are fewer more repulsive talking points from the Left than the one where they blame America for the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. It’s true that there was a “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” mentality among Western powers at the time, but to say the atrocities wouldn’t have happened without US meddling is a bit of a stretch. There is a law of unintended consequences at work in most areas of foreign policy, and it’s silly to imagine going back in a time machine and, say, telling America to go easy on Japan, because they end up helping Chairman Mao starve 60 million people to death! Or letting the the Nazis overrun the Soviet Union for similar reasons. It’s not that simple. But the Left want a scapegoat for the Khmer Rouge, because if they don’t have one, they are forced to admit that communism, in its purest form, involves torturing and killing people by necessity. If they blame America, they can perpetuate the fantasy that there is a way that collectivism can be made to work.

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  34. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    UrbanNeocolonialist – the theology of hell is a fascinating one. Nearly all of the references to hell in the Bible come from the New Testament, and most of those come from Jesus himself. Jesus described it fairly vividly as a place of eternal torment where residents would beg the righteous for a mere drop of water on their tongue to provide some relief.

    However, there is no reference to purgatory in the Bible at all. The Catholic Church pulled it out of their arses. There is no such place – and in fact, belief in purgatory undercuts the gospel message of salvation by the grace of God alone, apart from human endeavours.

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  35. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    The KR were neo-religious fanatics who’s crimes were based on positive beliefs…like religious people. Atheism by contrast is a negative…a lack of any belief in a Deity. So Say hello to your cousins Christians….;-)

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  36. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    “The KR were neo-religious fanatics who’s crimes were based on positive beliefs…like religious people.” Such as “religions” like the worship of Gaia. The KR also promoted a non-capitalist agragrian like of small communities ie communes. Say hello to your first cousins lefties.

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  37. ChardonnayGuy (1,207 comments) says:

    The Khmer Rouge were indeed a pack of anticolonialist romanticists of a perverse and disgusting kind, given their genocidal behaviour toward their own people. So were the Tutsi perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. So was Nazi Germany. And I concede Stalin was also a mass murderer, as was Mao. Let me point out, however, that when it comes to Nazi Germany, that paradigmatic instance of totalitarianism and genocide, there were plenty of large business concerns willing to bankroll them. Ever heard of Albert Speer?

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