Cambodia and its people are still reeling from the aftermath of the U.S. and Vietnam conflict. The Viet Cong were driven into Cambodia by U.S. forces, who pursued them and dropped 500,000 tons of bombs in Cambodia. The founder’s son’s birth village was tragically affected by the bombing.
Because of the disruption in Cambodia’s political system, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge easily took over the country and began some of the worst atrocities suffered in modern history. Pol Pot emptied cities and executed anyone with an education or with an occupation that would subvert his goals of forming a society without Western influence. Between 20% and 25% of the population were murdered (estimates range from 850,000 to 2 million people were killed). The physical, social and economic infrastructure of the country were destroyed.
The Pol Pot regime was toppled in 1979, but the after-effects – decimated families, a fractured economy, government corruption, a land laced with mines, a terrorized population, extreme poverty and hunger, no education or industry, a large displaced and homeless population – are still a part of Pol Pot’s legacy.
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