Tag Archives: Khmer Rouge

Dealing With The Horror Of Cambodia and Khmer Rouge

The history of inhumane treatment of people in the twentieth century ranks the murder of 1.8 million people in Cambodia by the infamous Khmer Rouge as among the most brutal. Khmer Rouge slaughtered their own people on spurious charges of being “internal enemies” because they had some education or owned a business or had a farm or said the wrong thing to the wrong person. Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Comrade Duch is on trial for his war crimes. How does one “punish” a man who helped to kill 14,000 people at the Tuoi Sleng prison, most of whom were tortured and brutalized even in death. “My current plea is that I would like you to please leave an open window for me to seek forgiveness” he pleaded with the few who were still alive. Even as he spoke, Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge official, dismissed the trial as a waste of money. “I wish the court would have a budget shortfall as soon as possible.”

The problem with these trials is executing Eav is a meager way to deal with the terror that was imposed upon the people of Cambodia. The 1.8 million are dead and these pathetic old men who are still alive have long since lost the ability to instill fear among the living. He is a pathetic creature of the night who will soon die, and the wounds of death will linger.

Cambodia Education Faces Up To Khmer Rouge Past

After years of a politically charged debate on how Cambodian schools should or should not handle the tragic past when the Khmer Rouge governed the nation, the Education Ministry has decided to move forward with an extensive program of teaching about what happened. The Ministry has authorized the Documentation Center of Cambodia to train 1,000 teachers on how to present this sensitive era to students. Documentation Center Director, Youk Chhang, hopes “at the end of 2009 all high school students will learn about the history of the Khmer Rouge.”

Until now this topic is rarely found in history books and few teachers undertake extensive discussions about the topic of the Khmer Rouge’s brutality. Many teachers for years have urged the Education Ministry to take on the task of developing a Khmer Rouge curriculum and training teachers in how to teach it. Chhun Sartum, director of the Wat Koh High school says, “I support and encourage Cambodian students to learn about the Khmer Rouge because Cambodian children have to know about the very painful history that their relatives and country suffered.”