Refugee Narratives: Ten Stories of Cambodian Refugees

Entry 2 (Diplomatic Transcription)

Life during Pol Pot’s regime 
in Cambodia 

On 17th, April 1975 at 9:30 a.m. Pol Pot’s military forces won ttheir attack to dominate Phnom Penh City. The citizens all over the city seemed at first to be joyful at the arrival of a new regime which was a ‘communist one’. Why? because they had been tired of the previous regime of Lon Nol which was full of corruptions and briberies. Unfortunately in the afternoon on this days they were deeply depressed at the Pol Pot’s announcement that all kinds of citizens must go out of the city and leave the city empty absolutely in 3 days. To evacuate people out of Phnom Penh Pol Pot’s used two kinds of policies:

a/ [unclear] Pol Pot’s troops tried themselves to [persuade] deceive the people at ??? their own house that the american bombing planes would come to attack P. Penh are area soon. So, frightened of this news people tried to keep themselves away off P. Penh. b/c Another: Pol Pot’s [tro] guerillas troops were in charge of killing the people who resisted to the authority leaving their wealthly houses. [Page 7] People were pourred out off the city very quietly because of fear of the guerilla’s cruelty. For about seven days more than 2 millions peoples had scattered to all directions of P. Penhfor their native villages where the collectivitism of the communist regime had be been already formed created. 

Lon Nol’s money must be eliminated at me once, so people who took only the money from P. Penh would surely meet problem and be enough to much disappointed that there were some ones killed themselves. Citizens had to live with their relatives who had learned the communist theorie before in their villages and their were called “new people”. And All these new people must learned from the villager everythingsrevolutionary such as how to speak revolutionary language, how to work, how to behave… 

A great many numbers of soldier officers and most As Pol Pot ministers fell for one trick at the very first arrival of Pol Pot’s military forces. They were announced that they could stay and go on working with the new government for collaboration. But on the contrary way the were all murdered cruelly: [Page 8] they were taken into a big room and then there would be a sudden violent explosion of bomb and if there were someones who [sta] were still alive they might be finished his life by shooting. 

To make his economie develop Pol Pot depended only on agriculture. He had planned an agrarian reform which turned small parcels of land into big ones with an appriate system of da drainage and irrigation within the farm. So the construction of barrages dams and trenches must come along be completed. To succeed in this planification Pol Pot forced people from 7 years ol until 70 years old, mal and femal, to stain all their utmost mind and body strenght to work in common. 

New people, during the working time time were controlled closely by guerillas. People who showed their resistance against their orders would be shot dead on the spot. This was a terrible warning to the others. And sometime when new people were working for construction of barrage or trenches the khmer rouge polices with guns captured abruptly one or two of them and brought to the bushes near by there. A little time after [Page 9] there were terrible cries for help from murdering. Every bodys who kept working did not know what was the cause and must pretend not to be aware of this cry and go on behaving the same way as before. If their were s.o. who seemed to take interests in this cry, they must be notified by the police and their name must be written in the black bo book. 

People worried all the time about their death. They thought that they would be murdered the other day. Hopeless to live. They were treated like animal, could do nothing except waiting for an order. At night time new people must keep quiet and not talk about badness and cruelty of communist regime; Otherwise the might be notified by the searching polices. 

Pol Pot’s murderers were always competing joyfully in massacure with each other for obtaining the greater number of biles. 

Pol Pot’s men made ruthless search for former soldiers, former intellectuals. If a man or a woman wase found thise qualities he must be captured by night and brought away to kill cold-bloodedly. After that they left them corpses ??? disclosed on the land. His family had to secret [page 10] otherwise it might be happened to them, the same thing. 

Traveling was absolutely limited. People could only travel in their own village. Those who to went and came from one village to another without permission might be punished cruelly if it notif was notified to the polices. They would be accused of being C.I.A. who took bad information from place to another. 

The diet for people was very so low that people went on dying group by group. The diet decreased gradually in the second half of the year: 

This irregular diet cause starvations and diseases. There were so many people who were died of starvation, of diareheas diarrheas, of dysenteris and of bery bery at the end of each year. However, people of who managed to keep some food in a secret place of their home, once found out, had to be accused of theift and would be cruelly punished. 

Pol Pots kept uptodate medicins away from [Page 11] people’s need to conserve for their [unclear] use only. They deceived people t on taking interest in home-made medecins which had no eficacy at all. Clothing seemed not be interesting for Pol Pots. Pol Pots took only a little bit of care about this matter: one person could be given one shirt or one trouser per per year. 

Pol Pots were very interested in groupping old people as well as young men and yon ladies. Each group had an appropriate chief who had been guarrillas before. Many groups made a section, many sections made a company, etc. . . . These groups were very mobile; they must be change easily the working place when a suprime order wase was put on. Pol Pots managed to seize tightly all groups of workers under their control. Pol Pots cut back all their liberties gradually until zero. Pol Pots always laughed at the skiny workers that had been richmen or well-preserved people before. Pol Pots a supposed that these people used to trade on their e ignorance during liberalist regime. So they must take revenges on them. They were all sadists. How outrageous they were!
Pol Pots usually [unclear] gave their speech [unclear] filled with menace to the workers when gathering after finishing every day’s works. 

[Page 12] All kinds of leaders were Pol Pots’ followers descendents. Neither election nor vote might come from people. Pol Pots designated themselve over the leaders of group or section or village. The government took strictly  the centralized powers of Administration. Every decision must come down from a high authorities. Pol Pot’s used a particular permutration  exchange of the leadership. They moved the leaders from region A to region B and established in the region A the leadership that came from region B in order to increase the massacre of both region. When the new leaders began to supervise they always said that the last ones were very cruel and had to be dismissed and punished seriously but in fact the last ones would have another position in the other region. And they announced all kind of murderins must be stopped without delay. These manners might console the people for their discontent and might make them be careless about hiding their former qualities. This is was one of the policies to find out people [unclear] suitable to a murder. So still there were massacres. I

Pol Pots always w made research of a [Page 13] new methods of massacre; what was the fastest way of killing people:

mutilating baby, hammer stroke blow on the head, slashing with a cold steel and cut out bile, cutting open an alive victim with an axe from his back and cut out biles sack. 
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We could see several large piles of human bones somwhere in the country. 
The report of the cruelty of Pol Pots regime is an endless one. 
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30th January 1980
[A. C.] 
[A. C.'s signature]

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