Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Killing Fields Today

Today, this is a picture of the actually killing fields in Cambodia. Its hard to imagine that a little more than 30 years ago, millions were slaughtered right here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Personal Reflection- Matt Velasquez

This event tells us that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued by the United Nations is meaningless. If they cannot enforce the declaration then there is no use in having it in the first place. The U.N. cannot expect every leader of every nation to follow the declaration just because it is the right thing to do. I think that human rights should come before everything else and if the U.N. can't support that idea, someone else will have to. This event relates to the Holocaust in that hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed that did nothing wrong. Also, this event was somewhat of a racial rejuvenation in the eyes of Pol Pot. Their goal was to create one ultimate race of people.

This event denies the principle of humanism and the idea that all individuals matter. People were killed based on their race, education level, economic status, and governmental status. According to the Khmer Rouge, only those who they thought were suitable for the new society could live. They clearly did not believe that the individual mattered of had any rights. I believe in humanism, but clearly some people on the world, as this event displays, do not.

This event makes me scared that people like Pol Pot can come to power and kill people in their countries. I think that if there was a way, people should have a better way of picking their leaders in all countries. The U.N. could regulate leaders in smaller, weaker nations so nothing like this could ever happen again. The problem with this is that this system would completely ruin the sovereignty of that nation. This event also makes me wonder how people who follwed Pol Pot could live with themselves killing innocent people. Especially since they used pick axes and shovels instead of guns to kill people. I do not understand those people. I really wished that more leaders were caught and prosecuted. The least the U.N. could do was prosecute the leaders of the Khmer Rouge, since they couldn't stop the killings when they were occurring. They should have at least tried the leaders earlier, not waiting until later this year to finally do it.

I have so much sorrow for all of the victims. I could not even begin to imagine what they went through and how scary it must have been for them. I pity them too because they didn't do anything wrong and they were still executed. The actions of the state in this situation were not at all justified. The Khmer Rouge had no right, according to the UDoHR, to kill anyone.

To me, peacekeeping efforts by the U.N. in sovereign countries are acceptable. If people are dying and or being tortured then the U.N. must do something. I think that if a leader tortures or kills innocent people in his or her country, then he or she forfeits their leadership and the sovereignty of their country. If the U.N. wanted to step into stop something horrible happening in the U.S.A., I would encourage it. These events would be taking place right in front of me, if not to me, so I think that I would want the U.N. to step in more than ever.

personal reflection

The event of pol pot and the killing fields of Cambodia relates to both human rights and the decleration of human rights. They relate to human rights because he went completly against it and didn't even give people fair trials. He was incharge of killing these people. He didn't care about the others. The only thing he realy cared about was to him killing his own kind because he thought they were traitors. He thought he would purify the country and wanted them all to be communists. He completly went against human rights and killed them all.

This event relates to the holocaust because there was mass killing and people were not treated fair they were killed because they were different. They didn't have the same beliefs so they were killed. It is very similar this time it wasn't because they were jew's it was about pol pots own kind but he still killed a lot of people because they were different. It also relates because they had concentration camps to mainly kill and torture prisoners. They were both sick and un-human. so in a nut shell they were very much alike in every way.

Pol pot and the killing fields of Cambodia denied the principal the principal that all individuals matter. This is true because he treated them like animals with no hygene and didn't care about them. He killed them whithout trial and only cared about how to kill more to purify the country.
He didn't care about antone and never had a thought in his mind that all individuals matter. In actuality all individuals matter and pol pot didn't care anything about them.

This event makes me think nothing about leadership because of how cruel and un human pol pot was.. Also including the leaders of the concentration camps. Everyone apart of the killings have no leadership what so ever. For example he ran away when cambodia was attacked in vietnam, and ran away like a cowered, there is no leadership involved he should of stood his ground and face the concequences. I feel that everyone who was apart of the killings should have been tortured to and put to death.

I feel so much sorrow for the victums of Cambodia. They were non deserving to death. They shouldn't have killed them because they had diffrent beliefs againstpol pot. I think people should have tryed harder to find pol pot because he wasn't put to justice. I gives me even more sorrow and I wish this event never happend.

result of pol pot's actions

The result of pol pot in the killing fields of cambodia was terrible. He killed his own kind because he thought they were traitors. There was a grand total of two million deaths. Everyone was inocent and non deserving for death. Pol pot was never put to justice and got away "he fled to the woods during the attack in vietnam." He eventualy died in on April, 15, 1998. He died of a hard attack at 73.

Reflection on Pol Pot and the Killing Fields of Cambodia

Reflection- Brian Moran

After researching the events that happened from 1975-1979 in Cambodia, it is clear that the power of the United Nations is very limited when it comes to dealing with the sovereignty of other countries. When a leader such as Pol Pot gains enough power and supporters, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights cannot really protect the individual rights of the general public in that country. This is because the willingness of the United Nations to enforce the Declaration of Human Rights often stops short of overriding national sovereignty. During his time of power, Pol Pot banned all establishments like banks, hospitals, and schools, and 2 million people were killed because they did not fit the description of a perfect society the Communists were trying to achieve. Of course, the United Nations did not like or agree with the actions taking place in Cambodia, but they did not have enough international support to stop them.
In my opinion, the events of Cambodia and the Holocaust share a key similarity. The United Nations situation with Cambodia is comparable to that of the United States during World War II. The U.S.A. absolutely did not agree with anything the Germans were doing at the time, but the American public did not want to go overseas and become involved in another country. If U.S. government leaders had just disregarded the feelings of the entire country and gone over anyway, that would have been contradicting the very basis of democracy the government is built on. That is probably the way the United Nations felt too. They would have loved to stop what was happening in Cambodia, but without the support of the membership, diving in to that situation would be breaking the rules the U.N. set up in the first place.
To people like Pol Pot and Hitler, and to governments like those now in Sudan and North Korea, the principle of humanism does not even exist. Pol Pot killed millions of his own people for ridiculous reasons like they wore glasses, had an education, or were ethnically impure. To fully accept the idea that the individual matters, people need to realize the differences in each other, and embrace them. No two people are alike, and this just shows how crazy and impractical Pol Pot’s idea of racial cleansing and creating a population of “New People” was. There is no way to create a race of humans who are exactly the same, because everyone will always be different. Some many be similar, but never the identical. The Khmer Rouge rejected all principles of humanism and the UDoHR, and killed millions of innocent people because of it.
During my time working on this project, I was completely shocked and disgusted at the events that took place in Cambodia. I cannot really begin to understand what was going through the minds of Pol Pot and his followers at the time, and I feel nobody will. That kind of evil is rare, and it is easy to say the Khmer Rouge and the Nazi party go hand in hand as two of the worst and most destructive governments of all time. Both killed millions of their own people to try for racial cleansing, and nothing can justify their actions. I feel sorrow and remorse for those who were killed and tortured at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. They didn’t deserve to be treated in such barbaric ways, and the knowledge of their deaths will never be forgotten.
All in all, I can see now that the events of Cambodia were not only terrible, but also hard to stop. The United Nations was stuck without international support, and therefore was powerless to act quickly. As a result, I think many more people died than necessary, and maybe there is a flaw in the system. I feel that if such horrible events are taking place, on the scale of genocide, they need to be stopped whether the United Nations has international support or not. If something were to happen in the United States that was as horrible as the Holocaust and the Killing Fields of Cambodia, then the U.N. would have every right to step in and stop the atrocities occurring. Racial cleansing should never again be tolerated, and the United Nations should be the group to quickly enforce that around the world.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pile of Bones

This picture shows a HUGE pile of skulls and bones. They use to be living people, who became victims of Pol Pots mass killings. It looks like a lot, but this is not even close to the amount of people killed in Cambodia from 1975-1979.

Sam Bukovsky's Personal Reaction

The actions that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took in Cambodia had complete disregard towards the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For example, article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude, and that slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took all of the people living in the city and took them to labor camps in the countryside. Also, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by killing people for basically no reason. Article 10 of the declaration was violated in two ways. Article 10 states that everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. This was violated by the fact that the people were held captive for absolutely no reason, and secondly, that the innocent people were murdered even though no crimes were committed on their part.

This event relates to the Holocaust because like the Holocaust, innocent citizens were held in concentration camps for no reason. During the Holocaust, around 11 million people were murdered for no reason, while in Cambodia, only 2 million were killed. Even though there are different numbers, it is still obvious that a lot of innocent people were murdered for no reason. Pol Pot, like Hitler, wanted to “purify” society. Although, Pol Pot took it a bit farther than Hitler in a way because while Hitler only held certain groups prisoners, Pol Pot held everybody prisoner.

The idea of Humanism was rejected during the killing fields of Cambodia because Humanism states that all individuals matter, but Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge treated their prisoners like garbage. They didn’t see their prisoners as individuals. They saw them kinda as animals and treated them as such. For example, Pol Pot had people executed if they so much as showed sympathy when members of their families were killed. Kids were separated from their families and sent to work as soldiers or in mobile groups. Also, everybody was underfed. They were fed one watery bowl of soup and a few grains of rice a day. When you think about it, these people were treated way worse than an animal because at least animal are fed and that stuff.

The event that took place made me feel that some people can be very easily manipulated to do what other people want. For example, during the Holocaust, Hitler got the SS to do whatever he wanted and they did it no questions asked. This was basically the same way with Pol Pot. He got a bunch of people to do whatever he wanted and he made them round up everybody and force them to stay in concentration camps. He got them to brutally murder millions of their own people, and they did it. If he told them to jump off of a bridge, they would probably do it. This shows that people are brainwashed to do what other people want. Although this probably wouldn’t happen in the United States because people would figure out what was going on before anything serious happened, But in a third world country where there isn’t the same kind of government, This could totally happen.

I do pity the victims of this event. 2 million people were murdered for no reason. Since this all happened pretty quickly, I’m sure that nobody was prepared for it and that’s why the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot were able to do what they did. Also, Pol Pot was not brought to justice over what he did. He died over a heart attack. If someone had actually captured him, he could have gotten what he deserves for what he did. If a victim’s family had gotten a hold of Pol Pot, I’m sure they would have tortured him and made him wish that he didn’t do what he did. But sadly, he had a heart attack and died.

Sam Bukovsky