C AMBODIANS must stop being intimidated by the Khmer Rouge and must also stop helping
the Khmer Rouge intimidate Cambodia and her people.
Last week, news of Pol Pot and his brutal comrades has shaken Cambodia again, even
though at a different degree compared to the day of April 17, 1979, when the Khmer
Rouge took over Cambodia.
A photo of the assassinated Son Sen's body has appeared worldwide. No second sources
have confirmed his death. The news of Pol Pot has been printed on the front page
of world famous newspapers such as the New York Times almost every day. The sources
of the news are contradicting themselves every day, too. To help stabilize Cambodia
society is to take news of Khmer Rouge as it is. Son Sen appears dead in the photograph.
We have not seen his grave. We have not examined his ashes.
I recalled 22 years ago, when the Khmer Rouge evacuated my family and me from Phnom
Penh to Trapeang Veng village of Region 5, Battambang province. The village consisted
of approximately 1,200 families from Phnom Penh. We were targeted by the Khmer Rouge
as "the enemies of Angkar" because we used to live in the city. Our village
chief was a base person but was later replaced by a young female Khmer Rouge cadre,
aged about 12. She was Comrade Oun, from the southwest zone. We were afraid of her,
especially when she told us that "Angkar" had sent her to look after us.
When, almost four years later in 1978, the Vietnamese came to Cambodia to eliminate
the Khmer Rouge, only 13 families in my village survived. I could not explain to
a Western reporter how things happened in my village and how Comrade Oun took care
of us. Any Cambodians during the Khmer Rouge times had the same experience. But now
I know that it was an intimidation that led to the executions of my relatives and
people in the whole village: "Angkar" had given orders to comrade Oun to
Cambodians should not fear the Khmer Rogue any more. Cambodians should not be afraid
to face them. We now live in a society where law rules. And we have learned from
the past. We need to take political events of the Khmer Rouge based upon facts or
evidence. It is the only way to stop politicians fooling us and to stop the intimidation
from the Khmer Rouge. It is also the only way to help build Cambodia to be a better
place for all of us to live.
If the news stated that Pol Pot has surrendered, lets believe that the news said
Pol Pot has surrendered. But we should also believe that we have not yet seen Pol
Pot surrendered on the TV yet. We have not seen Pol Pot at the courtroom yet. Samdech
Hun Sen has said that we should be extremely careful with these Khmer Rouge games.
Pol Pot, Ta Mok and their comrades are not so stupid as to give up their lifetime
treasure and submit themselves to their enemies, the Cambodian people. They will
try everything until their last breath to survive and to gain control in Cambodia,
because they know that they are criminals. They know that they are responsible for
the crime of genocide they committed between 1975 and 1979. They also know that they
will be put on trial for the killing of nearly 2 million Cambodians, if they surrender.
Otherwise, they can just come to the Central Market at any time and do not need to
ask for an amnesty from the King.
The Khmer Rogue is afraid of us now. For God's sake, we do not need to be intimidated
by them. We do not need to take a bloody revenge on them, but let the law of the
land judge them accordingly.
- Youk Chhang is Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia.