Dear Gentle Reader,
Yesterday, I posed two questions based on Chairman Mao Zedong's (1893-1976) "paper tiger" bombast injected into the global cold war debate of the 1950s.
What would it look like if half a country went missing? And, who chooses which half?
Generally speaking, especially in the modern West, it is hard to imagine half a country missing.
Many parts of the developing world, unfortunately, do not have such difficulties.
They just look around them.
A case in point would be Cambodia.
One third of Cambodia's population was killed, from 1975 to 1979, by the Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot.
Why would such a thing be done?
As one of the Khmer Rouge slogans went:
"To keep you is no benefit; to destroy you is no loss."
Who was killed?
Only the government workers.
And the religious people.
And the professionals.
And the tradespeople.
And the intellectuals--such as anyone who had had any schooling. Or wore glasses. Or lived in a city. Or used any post-industrial revolution tools.
Or anyone else who didn't toil in the fields and live in a village.
When you don't meet the people, it is hard to fathom their losses.
Especially as most people try to minimize it and forget about it. After all, with survivors, a difficult thing to bear in mind, sometimes, is "How did this person survive?"...
Nonetheless, there are many survivors who were victims.
Remember the boat people? Those refugees who flooded to our shores three decades ago, desperate for hope and sanctuary?
This is why they fled and what they fled...
The New Regimeby Sarith Pou from the book "Corpse Watching"No religious rituals.No religious symbols.No fortune tellers.No traditional healers.No paying respect to elders.No social status. No titles.No education. No training.No school. No learning.No books. No library.No science. No technology.No pens. No paper.No currency. No bartering.No buying. No selling.No begging. No giving.No purses. No wallets.No human rights. No liberty.No courts. No judges.No laws. No attorneys.No communications.No public transportation.No private transportation.No traveling. No mailing.No inviting. No visiting.No faxes. No telephones.No social gatherings.No chitchatting.No jokes. No laughter.No music. No dancing.No romance. No flirting.No fornication. No dating.No wet dreaming.No masturbating.No naked sleepers.No bathers.No nakedness in showers.No love songs. No love letters.No affection.No marrying. No divorcing.No marital conflicts. No fighting.No profanity. No cursing.No shoes. No sandals.No toothbrushes. No razors.No combs. No mirrors.No lotion. No make up.No long hair. No braids.No jewelry.No soap. No detergent. No shampoo.No knitting. No embroidering.No colored clothes, except black.No styles, except pajamas.No wine. No palm sap hooch.No lighters. No cigarettes.No morning coffee. No afternoon tea.No snacks. No desserts.No breakfast [sometimes no dinner].No mercy. No forgiveness.No regret. No remorse.No second chances. No excuses.No complaints. No grievances.No help. No favors.No eyeglasses. No dental treatment.No vaccines. No medicines.No disabilities. No social diseases.No tuberculosis. No leprosy.No kites. No marbles. No rubber bands.No cookies. No popsicle. No candy.No playing. No toys.No lullabies.No rest. No vacations.No holidays. No weekends.No games. No sports.No staying up late.No newspapers.No radio. No TV.No drawing. No painting.No pets. No pictures.No electricity. No lamp oil.No clocks. No watches.No hope. No life.A third of the people didn’t survive.The regime died.
And, if they didn't flee, or were not fast enough, or lucky enough...