Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison

Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison

Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison

Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison

Synopsis

"The Khmer Rouge terror constitutes one of the most horrific instances of mass murder in the twentieth century, and Chandler has immersed himself in a unique and largely unexplored collection of primary sources from hell. This will be a very important and enduring work. . . . Moreover, no scholar is better situated to undertake this project than David Chandler."--Craig Etcheson, Director, Cambodian Genocide Project, Yale University

"A truly impressive book that clearly transcends the realm of Cambodian and South Asian studies. Not only has Chandler worked through a massive amount of material, he has also situated his analysis within a knowledge of Khmer history that is without equal."--Charles Keyes, University of Washington

Excerpt

In April 1975 armed Cambodian radicals, known to the outside world as the Khmer Rouge, were victorious in a five-year-long civil war. Almost at once, and without explaining their rationale, the Khmer Rouge forcibly emptied Cambodia's towns and cities, abolished money, schools, private property, law courts, and markets, forbade religious practices, and set almost everybody to work in the countryside growing food. We now know that these decisions were made by the hidden, allpowerful Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) as part of its plan to preside over a radical Marxist-Leninist revolution. The Khmer Rouge regime of Democratic Kampuchea (DK), led by a former schoolteacher using the pseudonym Pol Pot, was swept from power by a Vietnamese invasion in January 1979. By then, perhaps as many as 1.5 million Cambodians were dead from malnutrition, overwork, and misdiagnosed and mistreated diseases. At least another 200,000 people, and probably thousands more, had been executed without trial as “class enemies. ” Overall, roughly one in five Cambodians died as a result of the regime. Because so many of the victims were ethnic Cambodians, or Khmer, the French author Jean Lacouture coined the term autogenocide to describe the process.

In August 1981, two years after the collapse of the Pol Pot regime, I traveled to Phnom Penh with four academic colleagues. It was the first . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.