MY MEMORIES THROUGH MY FAMILY
I was not born
during the Khmer Rouge period, but I am aware of some of the events that passed
during that time through members of my family.
April 1975 was a day filled with hope for all the people of Cambodia. It was also the first day in which the
Khmer Rouge brought a life of difficulty, hardship, separation, and burning
suffering to the people of Cambodia and brought incredible destruction to the
country. I still remember the
stories of my parents that they had encountered and experienced during the Lon
Nol and the Khmer Rouge regime.
April 1975, was the day in which the Khmer Rouge liberation army gained
victory over the Lon Nol Army. The
Khmer Rouge army successfully captured the city of Phnom Penh and broadcast
their victory throughout the country of Cambodia. The Lon Nol army dropped their weapons
and ceased fighting. Throughout the cities and provinces they asked to surrender
and defect. After hearing the
broadcast on the Khmer Rouge radio, they captured the entire city of Phnom Penh
and the war ended at that this time.
On this same day, the country became stable.
On the other hand,
in Pailin, on the 17th, 18th, and 19th of
April, no Khmer Rouge armies entered the city. People only saw armies stationed in
Pailin province marching with vehicles carrying small and large armies, tanks,
and weapons large and small.
Refugees traveled on the road to O’Lac near the border of Cambodia and
Thailand. When the army in Pailin
completely departed on the 20th of April, the Khmer Rouge army
entered. After people saw the Khmer
Rouge marching in, the people, both men and women, young and old, went out to
welcome them. They had feelings of
happiness and strong congratulations. They yelled, “Bravo, to the Father
King! Bravo to the Father
King! Bravo to Peace! Bravo to the Liberation Army!” Along the streets, the national road,
and the path downtown, there were men and women traveling with white cloths tied
to their wrists. On their
motorcycles and cars they tied banners pleading for peace and surrender.
Within the three
or four days, the people had many reasons to be happy. Everyone’s faces were beaming because
they thought they had gained a certain peace, there was no more war, and they
could once again reunite with their children, relatives and friends. One ought to feel pity for the people of
Cambodia at this time, because their happiness was like a short dream that was
shattered beyond what anyone could expect.
After the three days of joy and merriment, the Khmer Rouge Liberation
Army, dressed in black, rode in their motorcycles and announced on their
microphones commanding all the Cambodian people to abandon their homes,
villages, and districts and to relocate in regions far away. But deceptively, they asked the people
to leave their villages for only three days so that Angkar could re-organize their villages
and districts. They aid that after
everything was prepared and organized, then all brothers and sisters could
return once more. After they heard
this announcement, the faces of the Cambodian quickly demonstrated their
disappointment. Tears once
again began to fall because they were forced to abandon their property, their
homes, and their villages. Some
cried because they had to separate from their family, their children, their
parents, their grandparents, and their husbands and wives who lived far away and
were unable to meet. Instead,
they had to flee further away from each other. Not only this, but the Khmer Rouge
also gradually began to use mischievous methods of execution and murder. They announced for young and old women
to cut off their long hair and keep their hair short. If they saw anyone with long hair, they
would shave it off.