“It’s better to kill an innocent by mistake then to spare an enemy by mistake.” – Pol Pot
Between 1975 and 1979 nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s population died in the Khmer Rouge genocide. Led by a man nicknamed “Pol Pot”, the Khmer Rouge set out to create an agrarian society virtually overnight. They forced people out of the cities and into the rural areas of Cambodia, forced them into slave labor, and executed thousands of men and women who were believed to be intellectuals, political leaders, religious believers, or minorities. They also arrested and executed family members of their victims, known as “arrest by kinship.” It is estimated that anywhere from 1.7 to 3 million (or 1 in 4) Cambodians died from malnutrition, disease, torture, and mass executions. Religion and arts were forbidden. Wearing glasses or speaking with an accent could get you arrested and murdered.