Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge
Dr. Kimberly Byrd
18 February 2013
18 February 2013
Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge
Pol Pot was a leader of a totalitarian regime called Khmer Rouge which was effective from 1975 to 1979 in Cambodia (Klein 140). After a while he improved himself and he became the leader of the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian Communist Party. Then he changed his name to “Pol Pot” which means “political potential”(Longman Dictionary). The meaning of his name was important because he intended to make people to feel that he would create a country which is well controlled and honorable when they heard about him. He visited Vietnamese and China in order to learn how a communist government should be and how he could make Cambodia a communist country. Khmer represents Cambodian people while Rouge represents communism. His ultimate aim was becoming a perfect leader in Cambodia by making it an agrarian utopia (“Pol Pot” 312). His regime, Khmer Rouge, caused nearly 2 millions of Cambodian’s death and it ended up with a starving, collapsed society (Dieu 308b). According to many of the sources Pol Pot’s government was a totalitarian government. Under normal conditions totalitarian means a government based on a political system in which ordinary people have no power and are completely controlled by the government (Longman Dictionary). It is clear from the definition that the aim of the totalitarian governments is controlling the people and their identities like in Germany, USSR and China. Most of these leaders succeeded it by using technology according to their benefits. They used technology to watch people, control their movements, thoughts and private lives, so for mass surveillance. Also, technology was used to punish people like using various; creative torture methods. Furthermore, technology is important for communication and record keeping especially for totalitarian governments because they should know their past in order to change it if they need.There should be a one major power which controls the country in a totalitarian government. They do not care about their people the only important thing is keeping the ideology of the government steady and constant. Khmer Rouge was one of the cruelest regimes in the world because it caused nearly 2 million people’s death. There were no human rights, no political rights. The life in Cambodia was full of fear, poverty, death and diseases. People were forced to work 18 hours per day and they both physically and psychologically manipulated (Klein 144,145). However, it is not possible to claim that Pol Pot’s regime was a totally totalitarian regime because it had some features which were not fit to the definition of totalitarianism. Therefore, Pol Pot’s government was an extraordinary totalitarian government because they refused to use technology and rationalization according to their benefits.
The major evidence that proves that Khmer Rouge was not a regular totalitarian regime is no use of technology in psychological manipulation. Firstly, the government prohibited to use technology for personal needs. Their aim was to make all of the people similar because Pol Pot believed that it was easier to control people if they do not have special needs, properties, or different ideas. It was a simple strategy because if they could make people to feel that they do not have anything that make them different and special from other people, they would not have any reason to fight in order to protect their identities. He tried to applied similar methods to Nazis in order to make vulnerable (Klein 144). For example, Nazis also did not allow people in labor camps to keep their private properties with them(“Back In Time”). Pol Pot did similar thing, and he punished keeping family photographs, owning jewellery, use of money, having different clothes and shoes moreover beds, wristwatches and glasses, too (Klein 145). Dith Pran was a...
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