Cambodia

Khmer Rouge Goes on Trial

The Khmer Rouge, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 and murdered 2-million people while in power, has entered the history books alongside the vile regimes of Germany, Rwanda, and Yugoslavia. And, like those other countries, the Khmer Rouge is finally being put on trial. In August's GQ, Michael Paterniti tries to find out what took so long. He writes, "By 'smashing' (their word) the populace, by pathologically replacing the individual with the collective (and making sure that the collective knew how to do only one thing: grow rice), they'd instilled a paralysis and fear that had so far, thirty years later, saved them from retribution. They'd effectively lobotomized their own country." Its a haunting story of a country that "abolished money and holidays and love" and killed its own citizens by torture and execution. (The Khmer Rouge's motto was, "Better to destroy ten innocent people than to let one enemy go free.") Now, finally, the country is examining those responsible for that philosophy and its ensuing destruction.