Refugee Narratives: Ten Stories of Cambodian Refugees

Entry 10 (Edited Transcription)

Khao-I-Dang 31/1/80 
Khmer Rouge Revolution in Cambodia
Pol Pot’s Regime

The Khmer Red event in Cambodia.  Who doesn’t know that Cambodia changed from a Republic into a Communist state on the 17th of April 1975. The Communists governed in Cambodia from the 17th of April 1975 until the 6th of January 1979. The governor of the Khmer Rouge, named Pol Pot, was overthrown and the next person that governed after Pol Pot was Heng Samrin. In the Communist’s area, they were very savage. Nobody can guess [how savage they were]. In short, it was an area without civilization. They committed genocide against the Khmer people. In that time, people Khmer customs were almost destroyed. 

No one knows what will happen in the future. Let Catholic Relief Services or the International Committee of Red Cross with UNO as leaders please help! After the great power of China, it was the great power Soviet (U.S.S.R).

Now, I will tell you of the very terrible and cruel heartbreaking scenes which the the Red Khmer soldiers brought about:

In an efficacious way, the Khmer Rouge lied to evacuate the people from the city to the open fields, except for [Page 38] Lon Nol’s troop chief, a few soldiers, and the pilot officer who received Prince Sihanouk by car in the thick forest far away.  In the end, the wrath of Pol Pot’s soldiers killed them all by mortars and the seventy nine [?]. In those times, there was only one class. The farmers and workers worked hard everyday. 70% of people were farmers and 30% were workers living in the city who were all family of Pol Pot’s Communist soldiers. The only important part of the economy were the fields. Pol Pot’s regime knew only one society [to exist]. There were no markets, no schools, and especially no religion, like Buddhism. The Buddhist statue was made of cement or concrete, and the monk was clearly a simple person. When anyone was tired and wanted to leave, they couldn’t go for a walk, or go to the movies, or go out in a motor car. In fact, each family lived in a small house. Usually only one family would live in this house. Group by group, ten families, twenty families, and thirty families lived in one village, eating together in the long house. 

They gave two spoonfuls of rice per day to eat, [Page 39] no vegetables, no meat, no fruit. One cup of porridge for morning and one cup each for the evening, so I didn't have enough for my hunger. I was very thin and looked like a ghost; my body was only covered in skin and when the wind blew, I seemed to fall down. In these circumstances, they made me work as hard as before. If I didn’t, they took me for their killing games. One day on the 26th of April, 1977, they took me to prison [and] beat me with the stick they made out of whatever they could to hit on my face until I lost feeling.  After that they brought me in the small house and bound me with handcuffs and a chain. They accused me of being a student at the high school because I had a few books in English and on science and history…. After about  twenty days, they brought me to the river for the bath. I was fed two times a day; the first meal at lunch was two spoonfuls of porridge that had so much water added to it, and the same meal was provided in the evenings for dinner. Day by day, the sun set, the moon rose, the time passed. I thought that I wouldn’t ever leave. A lost year, 1977, and then the manager of the village took me outside from the prison. [Page 40] I was very happy and overwhelmed with hunger. Luckily I’m still alive till today, in the Khao-I-Dang Refugee Camp.
I lived under Pol Pot’s regime until the 6th of January 1979. After that day, I lived with the Vietnamese. They were better than Khmer Rouge in terms of accepting different nationalities. I lived with them. I earned my life by selling some things, once the Vietnamese regime was all over Cambodia.
31 January 1980.  [O.V]
I wrote my story very quickly. Sorry if it had any grammatical mistakes.

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