It begins by asking questions

It begins by asking questions

This week may have been the first time that students at Bak Touk High School had a chance to ask questions to the author of textbook History of Democratic Kampuchea 1975-1979, Dy Khamboly. At the Bak Touk campus, students asked several questions during the anti-slogan inauguration ceremony presided over Chum Teav Ton Sa-Im, Under-secretary of State of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and Chea Cheat, Head of Phnom Penh’s Municipal Office of Education, and Youk Chhang, the director of DC Cam.

Approximately 200 students, teachers and guests attended this ceremony. At the end of the ceremony was a question-answer session between students and Khamboly Dy.

Below are some questions asked by students and answered by Dy Khamboly.

The Khmer Rouge regime did not have their own currency. What tools did they use to buy weapons?

The Khmer Rouge had already printed money. However, they abolished that money after they took power in 1975 because in their view money could bring injustice and corruption in society. The Khmer Rouge thought that if they allowed money to be used, corruption would not be abolished. Markets were not allowed either. Most of the weapons were received from China, the only country that had influence on the Khmer Rouge regime.

Why did the Khmer Rouge kill the educated people?

The educated people were not trusted by the Khmer Rouge regime, although the leaders were educated overseas. They regarded educated people as the enemy of the state. Therefore, the Khmer Rouge chose people who did not have a chance to attend school to lead the country because these people were considered pure.

Why did Khmer Rouge kill doctors and monks?

The Khmer Rouge did not have any policy to kill doctors and monks. But it is true that doctors and monks were killed. Doctors and monks were killed because they were considered educated. Therefore, they were not trusted by the Khmer Rouge.

Did the international community know about the killings in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime? If they knew, why they did not intervene?

During the Khmer Rouge regime, there were only nine embassies in Cambodia. Most of the embassy staff had restrictions on where they could visit. Very little information about Cambodia was heard by outsiders. That information was not enough for the international community to take any action and intervene in Cambodia. And under the United Nations Charter countries could not intervene without the approval of the Security Council. Information about the Khmer Rouge regime was only extracted from refugees who fled Cambodia to Thailand.


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