Cambodian Genocide

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After reading this book it taught me that ethnicity does not always explain genocide. Hinton’s research proves that violence does not necessarily occur because people are evil. During the Cambodian genocide people who would not usually commit such atrocious acts did so because of the circumstances they were in. In the case of the Cambodian genocide it was there cultural orientation that explained why people behaved in violent ways. Political, cultural and social regions were all factors that allowed the genocide to escalate. Under the Khmer Rouge, Angkar became the symbol of new order. This genocide would not have been able to take place in Cambodia if their cultural background was more peaceful. Pol Pot was able to take the ideas of Maoism, Modernism and Buddhism to form the basis of the Khmer Rouge ideology. Genocide was not embedded in the Cambodian culture, but the idea of disproportionate revenge was engrained in the society. Patronage was deeply rooted in their culture and during the genocide it caused much paranoia. Paranoia led to mass purges.

Angkar became the new religion that took over Buddhism. Pol Pot used ideas from Cambodian culture such as disproportionate revenge and patronage to fuel the ideas of Maoism, Modernism and Buddhism, which formed Angkar. Disproportionate revenge was used as retaliation against class enemies. Khmer Rouge used the idea of disproportionate to teach the peasant class that in order to have change the “new people” or the urbanized class would have to suffer if they wanted to become like the “old people”. The peasant class was told it was honorable to kill “new people” who were not able to be loyal to Angkar. During the genocide the Khmer Rouge’s response to disproportionate revenge was death. Patronage was used to gain protection through relationships of dependence at a personal, political and supernatural level. Patronage idioms, in turn, tapped into feelings of personal dependency and moral dept learned at an early age...
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