For four years Pol Pots regime acted out their violent, unrelenting control of the Cambodian people. Focusing initially on the educated and elite, Pol Pot killed public officials, medical workers, schoolteachers, religious figures, businessmen and lawyers. Even those who wore glasses were suspected of being rich or educated, and put to death.
Nearly 2,000,000 lost their lives in what are now referred
Mass graves bear testimony to the brutality the Cambodian people endured. Some graves contain only skulls, often with the front teeth knocked out. Women and children were not exempt from this treatment and their remains litter the ground of the Killing Fields even today.
Cambodia was liberated politically by Vietnam in 1979. Yet it is difficult to find anyone over the age 25 who is truly free from the memories, fear and pain that are being reaped among the people of Cambodia today, the fruit of evil seeds sown in those fields a quarter century ago.
Virtually every adult we spoke with about those years of horror lost at least one immediate family member to the Khmer Rouge. Most lost many more. Husbands, wives, brothers and sisters were often separated, and many were never reunited.The Cambodian pastor we work with tells us of the loss of his father and all his brothers. He was only 8 years old at the time and thoughts of death and suicide haunted him for years until he found hope in Jesus Christ.
Our housekeeper refused to look at photographs of the Killing Fields. “They killed my father,” she murmured, as she waved the pictures away and left the room with a shudder.
Our landlord spoke to us briefly, but quietly, about his experience in the fields, and the rare joy of being reunited with his wife after many years of suffering. His soft voice and careful euphemisms made one thing perfectly clear: this was not a subject he enjoyed discussing.
Our hope as Christians is to minister the healing,
cleansing, forgiving love of Jesus to the people of Cambodia. How grateful
we are to know we have a Savior who came to set the captives free!
In April 1975 the Khmer Rouge marched into the city of Phnom Penh. Under the leadership of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge drove the entire population of the city (nearly 1 million people) into the jungles of Cambodia.
Though Pol Pot’s stated purpose was to create
an “agrarian utopia”, the destruction of roads, bridges,
hospitals, schools and water supplies plunged Cambodia overnight into
a land of darkness and despair.
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