Dead bodies everywhere you turn. The smell of gunpowder, filth, and death choke your lungs. You wonder everyday whether it will be your last. All your body feels is pain; all your heart feels is emptiness. One might think this is how life was for Jews during the Jewish Holocaust. In reality, this is how life was for many Cambodians during the reign of Pol Pot between 1975 and 1979. This event, known to many as the Cambodian genocide, left a profound mark on the world around us. In the late 70’s, nearly 2 million Cambodians died of overwork, starvation, torture, and execution in what became known as the Cambodian genocide. A group known as the Khmer Rouge took control of the country in April 1975. Over the course of four years, many innocent people were killed in the hopes that it would lead towards one large society of peasants. Things like banks, medicine, and religions were outlawed. If you were a person with something of value, you were automatically a target for the Khmer Rouge. With the entire mass death happening, one could see bodies littered on the streets and floating down rivers. People would hang themselves so that they wouldn’t feel the wrath of the Khmer Rouge. Citizens were evacuated from all major cities and sent to work in labor camps similar to those used by the Nazi regime in Germany many years prior. Everything seemed to be working in favor of the Khmer Rouge. In the year 1979, the Vietnamese fin ally drove the Khmer Rouge out of Cambodia. As part of a peace agreement, the Khmer Rouge was granted control over a zone on the border of Thailand known as Pailin. In the early 70’s, there were many civil wars going on. One happening right in Cambodia while another was going on between the Communist North Vietnamese and the U.S. backed South Vietnamese. The Vietnam War soon spread onto Cambodian soil with the country harboring U.S. troops, airbases, barracks, and weapons caches. Cambodia maintained a neutral policy when it came...
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