Friday, July 07, 2006

Justice denied

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of Pol Pot's birthplace. It seems only right that I should now post a photo of his cremation site, where in April 1998 millions of Cambodian's were denied any real opportunity to seek justice for the crimes committed in his name by his regime, when he died following heart failure. Just under a year earlier, he'd been arrested and underwent a show trial by his own followers and was placed under house arrest. Three days after he died, and following visits by journalists to verify his death, his body was cremated on a pile of rubbish and car tyres.

I visited the site, on top of the mountain near Anlong Veng and close to the border with Thailand, in December 2003. After his death, on 15 April 1998, the small shack he was living in was dismantled and all that is visible today is a broken toilet bowl amongst the weeds, and his grave, covered with a rusty corrugated tin roof. The site is on a tourist trail around the former headquarters of the Khmer Rouge hierachy, which also includes Pol Pot's bunker and Ta Mok's home. This photo of Pol Pot was taken at his show trial in July 1997.

1 comment:

Jinja said...

Hey, we visited the area the same year!

I recall that it was said (in Bayon Pearnik magazine) the seat of the toilet was being displayed as a trophy at a foreign pub in Siem Reap.

'Pol Pot' is rumored to appear in dreams and give lottery ticket numbers to those who leave offerings at his grave.

Even after being forced back to the Thai border, Saloth Sar had a significant faction of the KR aligned with him, even though it dwindled with time. Most of these people will never go on trial.

I'm wondering - should we use the name Saloth Sar instead of 'Pol Pot'? The name Pol Pot is a political construct... and used to taxonomize different varieties of Khmer Rouge, after the Vietnamese invaded. I'll have to mull that one over.