Sunday, June 10, 2007

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

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