Reflection Paper Cambodian Genocide – Essay Example

Reflections on Chapter 11 “The Cambodian Genocide-1975 -1979” written by Ben Kiernan What is the main points? Try to identify the thesisin the chapter or book. Why is he
or she writing the chapter or book and what is he or she trying to get a across to you?
Ben Kiernan’s main point is that Khmer Rouge not only committed crimes against
humanity, but also committed acts of genocide against the ethnic minorities and religious groups. He criticizes Samir Amin’s and Michael Vickery’s accounts in regard to the nature of Pol Pot regime and argues that DK’s ideology was not indigenous, but “it was an amalgam of various intellectual influences, including Khmer elite chauvinism, Third World nationalism, the French Revolution, Stalinism, and some aspects of Mao Zedongs ‘Great Leap Forward’” (356). Moreover, Kiernan refutes the claims that the deaths were not intended. According to him, the regime had highly centralized power and planned the mass murders. To sum up, in this chapter he tries to show the vast and deliberate scope of Cambodian genocide.
2. What are the main pieces of evidence used to support these points?
Ben Kiernan mainly uses references, reports, eyewitnesses and Cambodian Genocide Data
Bases to support his points. He refers to the legal authorities Steven Ratner and Jason Abrams and cites their views in order to prove that a consensus on the genocide has emerged (359). He also mentions the archive of Cambodian Genocide Program and Cambodian Genocide Data Bases available on Yale’s web site, as primary sources. Moreover, he adds three accounts of eyewitnesses.
3. Was their point convincing? Did you end up believing them or did you question either their ideas or their evidence in support of those ideas? Why or why not?
I believe Kiernan’s points, however I still feel a need to check his primary sources, at least
the Cambodian Genocide Data Bases. The scope of the genocide is well documented by examining the different genocide victims under different subtitles. Nevertheless, the idea in regard to the deliberateness of the killings is not convincing and well-supported. Of course, it is difficult to imagine that 1.5 million people were killed on ad hoc basis without any previous planning; however, he could have presented some solid evidence. The accounts of eyewitnesses are pretty convincing; but as for oral accounts, the peasants sound too articulate and their thoughts are extremely well-organized, which I found a little bit suspicious. Nevertheless, since these accounts are translated, it is difficult to make a comment on the tone and style of peasants’ interviews.
4. Did you like the way they explained their points? Why or why not.
I liked his style, it is clear and precise. I also liked his critical stance. However, while he
criticizes the others with lack of evidence, he also does not support his points fully. He only refers to the sources like Data Bases without any quotation that could have supported his arguments. It is not possible to see the direct links between his arguments and the evidence. He could have used direct quotations from the primary sources to support his points.
Works Cited:
Kiernan, Ben. “The Cambodian Genocide-1975 -1979”. Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and
Eyewitness Accounts. Samuel Totten et.al. , eds. New York: Routledge, 2004.