Pol Pot Is Not a National Hero: Retired King

Retired King Norodom Siha­nouk decried what he said was a growing revisionist movement to cast the late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot as a national hero in comments posted on his Web site on Mon­day. 

He wrote in response to media re­ports about a Buddhist ceremony held on the eighth anniversary of Pol Pot’s death in Oddar Mean­chey province’s Anlong Veng district, on April 15.

“There are now and henceforth a growing number of Khmer men and women in our ‘fatherland of Ankgor,’ Kampu­chea, who are deciding and shall de­cide to make the super-diabolical POL POT (Sa­loth Sar) into an Im­mortal National Hero, a ‘God,’ the future savior of Cambodia,” Norodom Sihanouk wrote in a message dated April 20.

Followers of Pol Pot brought of­ferings of food and incense to the site of his cremation on April 15, as did superstitious people hoping he would offer them luck.

“They make pilgrimages to the tomb of the new ‘Tevoda’-’God’ POL POT to burn sticks of in­cense and candles so that the be­loved Pol Pot should experience Heaven in­stead of Hell and so that as soon as possible he should be reborn on our earth,” Noro­dom Sihanouk wrote.

He added that he hoped that if Pol Pot were to return, the current government would remain in power.

“Supposing then that Mr Pol Pot were reborn in 2007, we must pray then our dear and irreplaceable Samdech [Prime Minister] Hun Sen should remain at the helm of our ‘fatherland of Angkor’ until the age of 94,” he added.

Youk Chhang, director of the Doc­umentation Center of Cam­bo­dia, said he believes revisionist supporters of Pol Pot are a slim mi­nority of the population.

He added that former soldiers and party faithful have never reintegrated into society at large be­cause the policy of national reconciliation has failed.

But, Youk Chhang said, the lack of quality education about his­tory in high schools leaves some young students without a full un­der­stand­ing of what happened.

“It’s back to the question of high school curriculum…and how much you learn to think critically,” he said.


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