It’s 27 years ago, Pol Pot’s Red Khmer’s grip on Cambodia ended with the fall of Phnom Phen.
If you’re not familiar with the Red Khmer, you were probably born in the Eighties (or you weren’t watching the news): under Pol Pot’s leadership, over 2 million Cambodians were killed and buried in mass graves. Some of you probably remember the movie ‘The Killing Fields’, a movie depicting the life of journalist Dith Pran (homepage).
I’m mentioning this particular event (‘the fall of the Red Khmer’), to illustrate that history is a lot more complex than people think. There are many more forces, sides and twists to the story that led to end of the Killing Fields: in this case, a ‘communist’ party (The Red Khmer) was ousted of power with the help of the Communist Vietnamese army, which was the same army that forced the US to retreat from South Vietnam. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Vietnamese invasion was self-serving (but ending the genocide), as the same for the typical Western (read US) support for Pol Pot’s Red Khmer after the fall of Phnom Phen.
History is not the same as mathematics.