Let me just put it out there that I don’t have a degree in this. What I know is what I’ve learnt from traveling and my favorite tool of education, Google. So excuse me if I don’t have the exact statistics straight (who does?) but I think it’s about time someone put this out there.
Last week, I have the pleasure of visiting Cambodia, specifically Phnom Penh. Having done no research, I was told to go to the Killing Fields, and thats how I learnt of the Cambodian genocide. It’s funny that at that time, I was reading the Anne Frank’s Diary and also generally about the Holocaust. So I must say that these two genocides were pretty darn similar.
Which brings me to my next point. If the Holocaust makes it to almost all history textbooks, why not the Cambodian genocide which killed 3 million people? Thats nearly 25% of the population of Cambodia. I live in Malaysia, close to Cambodia and I knew nothing of this. In fact every single person in my van traveling to the killing field that day knew nothing of the Cambodian genocide.
So why the double standard?
To add to the point, the Cambodian Genocide occurred from 1975 to 1979. That was just over 40 years ago. My parents were already born, and still the event was hushed. I made a neat little table to compare the two.
So this has brought out the nerd in me.
Back to the discussion, the similarity between Pol Pot’s Khmer regime and Hitler’s Nazis is startling. The world allowed a second genocide to happen again, this time quieter, and no one offered help. The US even backed out of the Vietnam war and killed a few hundred thousand Cambodians of their own. Shame.
Pol Pot wanted to remove all social class from the society, bringing the Cambodians back to the basic days where people were farmers, when there was no rich and no poor. He transported everyone from the city to the outskirts to paddy plantations and such, to create the ideal agrarian community. How did he recognized people of intellect? Spectacles. Anyone wearing spectacles will be instantly executed. And how was he punished? House arrest. He died at the age of 75, when some of the people under his regime did not reach the age of 2.
Hitler on the other hand wanted to remove all ‘impure’ humans and conquer as much of Europe (and beyond) as he could, creating a supreme race of Aryans. Both wanted different things, but had the same method of execution.
The point of this long winded article is to bring forth the many other things thats has happened in the world that wasn’t given due credit (i.e.: the Armenian Genocide and plenty of others).
It irks me to no end that the human rights of one side of the world is given a greater importance than another. Is it white supremacy? I don’t know, but I sure think so. But should the world educate themselves? Definitely.