The leader of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot set up the communist government in Cambodia after the US carpet bombed Cambodia and made it politically unstable. The genocide that followed this was horrendous. The effects of it still remain to this day. The 8 stages of genocide were followed in the Cambodian genocide with horrific results.
Classification categorizes people based on their ethnicity, race religion or nationality. The main classification in this genocide was the old people and the New People system. The people that were kicked out of the urban cities were called the New People because of their western ideas. The people that were farmers before the Khmer Rouge takeover were called the Old People. The Khmer Rouge got most of their support from the rural people. The New people were more abused than the old people. They were considered the lowest in the area and had no freedom of speech. They had to listen to the other classes. They were also not allowed to farm because they had led ‘corrupt’ lives and had to be trained to be ‘productive” workers. In order to break their spirits and instil a sense of loyalty, the new people were not the only people that were abused and killed by the Khmer Rouge. Muslim Chams were heavily killed and oppressed. About 400,000 Muslims were killed through the extermination process. The classification stage was heavily used in the Cambodian genocide. Symbolization refers to how people apply symbols to these different categories. The Khmer Rouge assigned a blue scarf to the people who were from the eastern zones of Cambodia. This blue scarf was basically a sign that told the Khmer Rouge who was marked for extermination. Another symbol used was anyone wearing glasses. They said the glasses symbolized that the wear could read and was therefore literate. They also targeted cities. They destroyed some and others were repurposed to fit their needs. They believed that the cities depicted a westernized ideology and that they could not fit into their peasant ideology. *insert concluding sentence*
Dehumanization is the third stage in genocide it is the denial of the other group’s humanity. It depicts the other group as being less human and helps the extremists get over their unwillingness to kill. This tactic was used to demonize higher ranking people of the opposition. This means that they painted their enemies as demons who the well being of the revolution. The Khmer Rouge denied the humanity of those they opposed by banning radio sets, banning affection between two people, and even killing those who laughed, smiled, or cried. They also ensured people sleep in uncomfortable environments with very many other people. Organization plays a key part in any genocide. The Khmer Rouge evacuated Phnom Pehn which led to the division of the people. They separated families and children and sent them to different work camps where they were forced to do hard labour. They also processed city dwellers and asked them to provide autobiographies in order to document their class background. This helped them draw up a kill list for people who where suspected of treason or were just from an ethnic class that was despised by them or was unfit to live. *insert concluding sentence*
Polarization is the act of killing the opposition or the moderates who oppose the extremists. The Khmer rouge basically decided that they wanted to show that they had enemies. So they put the new people against the old people. The new people hated the old people as they were favoured more by the Khmer Rouge and were not worked as hard and received more food. The old people hated the new people because the Khmer Rouge told them to. This widened the gap between the people and made them easy to manipulate. They also painted the US and Vietnam as their enemies as well as anyone else who had ties to the west. Identification is the process of identifying the victims and classifying them. The Khmer Rouge was secretive from the beginning. They had an agenda that included the eradication of the Vietnamese in Cambodia, yet they relied on them as allies. In preparation, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia secretly killed the Cambodians that had been trained by the North Vietnamese. They were also forced to remain hidden because they were attacked by Prince Sihanouk’s government. But eventually, he joined forces with the Khmer Rouge. But all their alliances were temporary even though the Vietnamese and Prince Sihanouk thought of them as permanent. The Khmer Rouge had their own agenda. The forced evacuation of Phnom Penh was a preparation step for the genocide. *insert concluding sentence*
Extermination is a term that describes the killing of pests which exemplifies the effects of dehumanization. The victims were not considered humans they were considered vermin or pests. This prompted the makings of mass graves and the brutal killings that took place. People were killed by harsh forced labour, mass executions and internal killings. The Khmer Rouge imposed harsh labour. They forced the people to work excruciatingly long hours they were given barely any food and weren’t allowed to grow their own. The Khmer Rouge also conducted mass executions in which hundreds of thousands of people were executed. After some time the Khmer Rouge became paranoid and started killing their own members who they suspected of treason. Denial is the final stage of the genocide, the perpetrators of the genocide try to cover up the evidence and divert attention away from the atrocities that they committed. The Khmer Rouge burned all the records and then refuse historians to access the few records that survived the burnings. They covered up the mass graves. Denial is possibly one of the most mentally destructive parts of genocide as it makes it seem like all the suffering the victims went through is insignificant.
The cruelty that the Cambodian people went through is unimaginable. The rest of the worlds reluctance to step in and help in fear for another world war only caused more suffering for the innocent civilians of Cambodia. Millions are still suffering from the lasting effects of the genocide something something idk man