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Khmer Rouge genocide

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 369

Khmer Rouge Genocide and Responsibility to Protect What distinguishes human beings from other animals is the ability to remember what hurts. As days and months pass by the tragic incident of Khmer Rouge is still rooted in memories of many. This paper is like a time machine which takes the reader on a journey to the past and revisits the Khmer Rouge genocide. In the latter part of this paper, the concept of responsibility to protect has been applied to the case, in the hope that our proposed plan would make the horrible incident a less painful memory. Background and root cause of genocide in Cambodia The Khmer Rouge led by Khieu Sampan and Pol Pot took over the power from Marshal Lon Nols government in 1975 and formed the government. Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge was extreme violent since the group intended to adjust the socialist ideology to the country. It refused to ally with any foreign countries as well as denied to accept the foreign aids. The Khmer Rouge leaders believed that the country must be isolated from the international community and there should be only one ethnic group. Hence, people were forced to do farming without using any kinds of technology. Some people were tortured or starved to death. Millions of intellectual and minority groups had been killed in the place called killing field. After taking power, the Khmer Rouge leadership renamed the country Democratic Kampuchea. The Khmer Rouge subjected Cambodia to a radical social reform process so called social engineering aiming at creating a purely agrarian-based Communist society. Social engineering is a discipline in political science that refers to efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, whether by governments or private groups. In the political arena, the counterpart of social engineering is political engineering. As the result, the Khmer Rouge forced around two million people from the cities to the country to work in agriculture. They forced many people out of their homes and ignored many basic human freedoms; they controlled what they wore, who they could talk to, and many other aspects of their lives. The Khmer Rouge wanted to eliminate anyone suspected of the involvement in free-market activities, suspected capitalists encompassed professionals and almost everyone with an education, many urban dwellers, and people with connections to foreign governments. One of their motto was to keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss." What is Genocide? Genocide is defined as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.", according to the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG), Article 2. The reason why the Khmer Rouge is considered genocide: People who refused to leave were killed; so were those who didn't leave fast enough, and those who wouldn't obey orders. Children were taken from their parents and placed in separate forced labor camps even old, disable, ill, pregnant women and they dehumanized these people as characteristic of genocide such as rape, mass-killing or even called them as cockroach. Factories, schools and universities were shut down. Educated persons were murdered, together with their extended families. Religion was banned, all leading Buddhist monks were killed and almost all temples destroyed. It was possible for people to be shot simply for knowing a foreign language, wearing glasses, laughing, or crying. Also targeted were minority groups, victims of the Khmer Rouge's racism. Justification of Killing Since Khmer Rouge leaders believed in new social engineering, socialist communism was a regime that Khmer Rouge adopted to rule Cambodia. Agrarian-based society was introduced to Cambodia as Khmer Rouge leaders aim the country to be dependent and free from international influences. As a consequence, Khmer Rouge carried out a radical program that included isolating the country from foreign influence, closing schools, hospitals and factories, abolishing banking, finance and currency, outlawing all religions, confiscating all private properties and relocating people from urban areas to collective farms. However, nothing can be worse than mass killing of 0.85 3 million people, a number that was collected form every incident Khmer Rouge committed during its term. Hence, these following justifications will elaborate about Khmer Rouges motivations. Social Transformation, as Khmer Rouge adopted communism as a political regime so it had to cope with resistance from oppositions who did not obey its rules. As a consequence, execution was carried out to demolish resistance in order to stabilize social order which revolved Cambodian society. The Khmer Rouge killed many intellectuals, city-dwellers, minority people, and many of their own party members and soldiers who were suspected of being traitors. Moreover, a great deal of people also died in the farm from work exhaustion since they worked for 12-15 hours with getting a good rest, illness that could not be cured by traditional medicine since westerns was refused, and starvation for insufficient nutrient that they got. In other words, they wanted to keep all the farmers and killed everyone else that did not fit the requirements. Class elimination, a practice that played a big role in Khmer Rouges regime as equipment to achieve agrarian-base communist society. Since class system typically did not suit with communism, thus social class was no use for society. Consequently, the only job available at that time was a farmer that equalized everybody in the society regardless of education and economic status. Schools and banks were shut down in order to make new state that did need money for survival. Intellectuals and teachers were murdered so they would not obstruct communist party plan. Otherness, a perception that dehumanized humanity of some particular groups of people in society as their value was subsided. The rich and educated people were seen as a problem of society; they could get better off at the end of the day while the poor were left starving and suffered from being exploited by the richs wealth. Rather be revenge when the poor had a chance to rise up equate with the rich where economic class was worth for nothing. The rich and intellectuals were insulted and communism just twisted everything up-side-down as those people became minorities of society. One of their mottos, in reference to the New People (urban dwellers), was: "To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss." Stakeholders Stakeholders Firstly, struggle of power of Monarchy, Elite and Khmer Rouge. In the year 1955, King Sihanouk came into power. With his great success in diplomacy abroad enhanced Sihanouk's political control at home. Ultimately, In March 1970, while Sihanouk was abroad, his prime minister, General Lon Nol, seized power and sent his army to fight the National Liberation Front (NLF) guerrillas. In April 1970, U.S. and South Vietnamese troops entered Cambodia, supporting Lon Nol's army. Meanwhile, Khmer Communist Party guerrillas, called the Khmer Rouge were aided
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