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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Excerpts from I AM Pol Pot

Here are some excerpts from the book I Am Pol Pot, by Steve Otto:

Chapter 15

The Creation of Democratic Kampuchea

Journal entry: 12 October Pol:

Pon was ecstatic when I told him his men would enter Phnom Penh first.
“We have never been in that city,” he said with a grin. “We were never allowed near it and my men will be dazzled to see how city people live. There’s a lot for them to experience.”
“Yes,” I said. “We will evacuate the city, but your men will get to spend as much time there as they want. They will have plenty to see.”
As the guns drew silent, the last of Lon Nol’s army threw off their uniform and run from their posts. Pon’s men, who had been at the core of my revolutionary army, began walking into the city. They were tired and weary of all the fighting and had spent day after day lying in trenches or manning the mortar rockets we kept firing into the city. I was proud that it was they whom we sent in first to see what we had captured first hand. Shortly after that, I planned on sending in some trained zone commanders to keep things organized.

Louise Aude
Correspondent for
Association française de presse,
17 April 1975:
Sent written in French, translated to English

At first a small group of guerrillas came down the street. They were smiling and marching with the government’s soldiers. There were smiles and the people greeted them as they road into town on army tanks and carrying the rebel’s flag.
Shortly after came the other soldiers. They were not smiling. They seemed grimy and stressed out from the fighting. They had mostly black uniforms, and many had their red and white-chequered Krama’s wrapped around their heads, while others wore green Mao caps with no red stars on them. They all had frowns until they began to examine the city.
Some drank out of toilets, apparently believing they were places where city people kept their water. Some were just children as young as 10. They looked as if they had never seen a bottle or canned food before. They were looking for the spoils of war, but they seemed uninterested in money or jewellery. One soldier threw a wad of money into the street as if it were trash.
They did want machines. They drove cars and motorbikes, often crashing them into walls. They would just laugh and get another one. They had not seen electricity before.
As the day wore on, other soldiers came, some in black, others in green. None wore rank insignias or badges of any kind. I couldn’t tell who was in charge and it seemed as if some of the soldiers didn’t know. Some seemed to be fighting with each other. I was beginning to wonder who these rebels were and even if they were all from the same army.
By the end of the day, all local people we were all told to leave the city. The rebels said not to take much because they would not be gone that long. They were told they weren’t going very far. I must stop for now and pack. I’m not sure how long they plan to let foreign journalist stay here or which country’s journalists will be allowed to stay if any.

Journal entry Pol,

Before the guns went silent, along the riverbank where we held our last congress, we had already lined up the posts of the committee to run our party. I had been voted prime minister, and it was agreed that I held the highest post. Ponnary would naturally be the head of the Women’s Association and in charge of all departments dealing the women’s issues. There would be no sexism or discrimination in my government.
Hem was the president, which is more or less the second highest post. We had agreed to that while he was out making diplomatic overtures with Sihacook. Every other member of the Marxist Circle held a post in the new party structure.
Lately I spend a lot of time at my Chinit River base while hem and Sihacook spend time mingling with diplomats.


28 April 1975:


………Many questions have arisen as Cambodia’s mysterious conquerors emerge from the jungle. For some time, Western experts have not been able to determine what kind of government the new regime will produce. Will it be nationalistic, Marxist or doctrinaire communist? No one seems to know. Little is known about the second leader in the NUFK coalition, Hem Saphron. What is already clear, however, is that Hem Saphron, 43, will probably wield the most power in the new regime. During the war he was Deputy Premier to Prince Nurodum Sihacook as well as Minister of Defence and commander in
Chief of the Khmer Rouge fighting forces…………

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