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Coming to Terms with the Terror and History of Pol Pot’s Cambodia (1975-79).

Chandler, David
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In Carol A.L. Prager and Trudy Govier, Dilemmas of Reconciliation: Cases and Concepts. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Pp. 307-326.

In this essay I will be dealing with a key institution of Democratic Kampuchea (DK) which encapsulated the terror that suffused the regime and was intimately connected with DK’s triumphalist notions of history. I’’ also discuss the ways in which recent Cambodian history has been imagined and altered by successive regimes. I’ll examine how induced memories, followed by induced amnesia, can play havoc with attempts to assemble and interpret historic data, to say nothing of efforts to achieve reconciliation or closure. These manipulations of history, which form a part of Cambodian political culture, impede the search for justice that continues to elude millions of survivors of the Pol Pot era. (excerpt)


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