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Monday, April 05, 2010

Summer read—I Am Pol Pot

Summer is coming and that means summer reading….I Am Pol Pot….
We all know what the press reported about the Communist Revolution in Cambodia, but what did things look like from the inside? Finally there is a story that gives the reader a feel for those who made up the Communist Party of Kampuchea. This is a fictional biography tries to interpret Pol Pot and see how things may have looked to the rulers who planned and executed Democratic Kampuchea in what is now Cambodia. The book contains quotes from the Black Papers, one of the few books ever released by Democratic Kampuchea. It is also based on many of the records from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (known as the Khmer Rouge).

And excerpts from I Am Pol Pot:

Chapter 9
The Great and Powerful Wizard of Mao

Journal entry: 15 August: Sâr:

I had been to China a few times. I remember being in Tienaman square and witnessing the activities of the Cultural Revolution. It was chaotic, with people running around tossing white leaflets everywhere, with Chinese characters I couldn’t read. Mao Zedong didn’t have a peasant revolution. He just used the peasants to get control of the country. He spent much of his time trying to industrialize the country instead of focusing on making it better for the peasants. He sent city people out to stay with the peasants for a few months. What good did that do? They just ended up going back to the city as if nothing ever happened. How can they learn about farming and peasant work in such a short time?
My delegation, including myself and a few of the other committee members, such as Hem, and Van. We arrived at the Pochentong Beijing Airport, where we were met with Chinese delegate Sun Hao. As with many Chinese, he wore the standard Mao jacket. By now we were beginning to try and develop a uniform that our party members and the rest of us could wear. In place of red stars we wore our red Kramas, which we felt fit in better with the peasant look. The Chinese delegation led us into the Great Hall of the People for a meeting with Chairman Mao. Next came a formal welcoming banquet hosted by Chou En-lai. And of course Mao was there. As we sat at the tables, all decked out in red, with large red curtains and the seal of the Chinese government above us, I noticed that Mao’s picture was everywhere. His books and posters of adulation were everywhere. This guy was a real egomaniac. We all sat down to dinner when Mao began to speak.
“We are beginning to fear that Sihacook is loosing control of the country and may turn against us. Is your revolution at a point where you can use arms to move ahead?”
“Sure,” I said. “We have new recruits, some who are well trained and training new ones. Sihacook is coming down hard on us and he’s attacking the left even in his capitol. He has driven our party and leftists out of the city and they are coming to us. We are definitely in a revolutionary position. The time is right. We also have a great arsenal built up and many of our weapons come from the corrupted officers in the Royal Army.”
“When the time is right, you shall have all the arms and equipment you need. But we still need Sihacook as long as we can use him. So this has to be done discreetly. The arms will be delivered, but you must make sure Sihacook does not know you are getting them from us.”
“We’ll help you in every way we can. Actually, we believe that the CIA wants Sihacook out and at some point in time that will happen.”
“We’ve considered that also. This Richard Nixon has been pushing the CIA to replace Sihacook with a more aggressive anti-communist leader.”
“There’s just one thing I need and that’s an assurance that you won’t tell us how to run our government after we win. We want full autonomy to run things our way.”
“Sure Mao,” said. “We never interfere in our allies internal affairs. Each country runs things their way. Some develop socialism at different rates, some slowly, others faster. We respect your autonomy completely.”
“Thanks Mao. That’s what I wanted to hear.”
I knew there would be more meetings with Mao. He seemed like a patronizing egomaniac, who didn’t really know how to run a revolution, but I needed his arms. We all got on a plane to return to Kampuchea. I also met with Deng Xiaoping, who told me that China was committed to giving us whatever we needed to get by. Not only all the weapons we asked for but also for some rice and food to help us while we got our harvests restarted, should we win.
As soon as we returned, we went to the base camp we had set up in the far north of the country. We had only been gone a few about a week. However, we heard about the military coup against Sihacook, by his own henchman Gen.Lon Nol, a few days before we left on March 18, 1970.
“Listen folks,” I told the central committee when I returned. “I know we are now officially part of the Maoist International, but our revolution is Khmer. Let’s make sure that none of our documents mention Mao or any Chinese revolution. Our revolution will be inspired by Khmers and not the Chinese. Of course, we’ll make references to Marx and Lenin as we are a Marxist-Leninist Party, as well as with Stalin, since he was our influence, but not Mao. He is not going to be listed in our records as an influence of our party. As for the party cadre, I believe they should avoid foreign influences as much as possible. They should learn that this is Khmer Communism and it is based on the Khmer culture and customs.”
I found the others to be in agreement with me.

Diary entry: Ponnary: 10 March 1970:

My stay in China was quite fascinating. To meet Chiang Ching in person was probably the high point of my life, next to my marriage to Sâr. She worked tirelessly to promote proletariat revolution and she constantly toured the country promoting the political left in a party that seemed divided between a conservative wing and the left, which was under her control.
She promoted women’s issues at all time, kept them in a Marxist perspective. She promoted proletariat culture and no one dared cross her because she was a woman of power, and she knew how to use it. She dealt with her enemies harshly and no one crossed her. In the orient, I have never met a woman who had the knowledge to wield such power and her knowledge of Marxist-Leninist perspective was remarkable to say the least. Of course, I have always been in the political circle as one of its main members. She only recently emerged as one of the most prominent members of the Chinese Communist Party. ……

…………. Chapter 10
The uprising in France
The French get a taste of their own medicine

The following are US news magazine clippings, printed in English:

Newstime magazine:

May 17, 1968

“Riots strike France”

Last week Paris erupted into the worst student riots of the decade. Thousands massed for confrontations with authorities, where cars were burned and bloody clashes with police seemed staged to coincide with an important meeting Charles de Gaulle was to hold for peace talks in Indochina.
The Demonstration started off peacefully, but bands of Maoists, Marxists, Trotskyites and Guevarist militarists had thrown the Nanterre College into turmoil. As if planned all along, these militants stormed the campus the following day and began to scuffle with police. Before long they were met by other protesters who chanted “De Gaulle assassin!”
Student protests have taken place all over Europe and in cities in the US, but this was by far the largest yet. Students made barricades with stones and cars, while leftist union workers went on strike. Students hurled Molotov cocktails at the police. Some of the rioting is believed to be over university policies in France. Such universities usually flunk about 20% of students, while 50% give up.
No lives were lost, but there were 596 injured and 1,081 arrests made. On top of that, general strikes threaten to bring the country to a standstill, with busses, electricity and other public works coming to a standstill………

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