Monday, February 27, 2012

Understanding the Khmer Rouge

Journalist Elizabeth Becker is in Phnom Penh to testify at the Khmer Rouge tribunal. She sat down with AFP reporter Michelle Fitzpatrick to talk about her brief and bizarre 1978 visit to Cambodia and interview with Pol Pot, just days before the regime was toppled by invading Vietnamese forces.

That Becker was granted a visa is somewhat remarkable since she had already published several critical pieces about the Khmer Rouge, based on the horror stories that were trickling in from Cambodian refugees.
“Do not presume they were all-seeing and all-wise,” Becker said about the Khmer Rouge leadership. “The one thing people keep forgetting is how incompetent these people were. They were cruel and ruthless and incompetent.”

The interview is on Andy Brouwer's blog and is well worth the read. Becker's book on the Khmer Rouge and the aftermath of the regime is required reading.

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