Continuing the Evil Dudes in History series, Kevin, Toren, and Joe look at Cambodian Communist leader Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
Music: “Call Me Irresponsible”
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- Pol Pot (can’t embed, sorry)
Fascinating, chilling episode. btw- Dr. Hang S. Ngor, from THE KILLING FIELDS, didn’t get much work afterwards because he was murdered in 1996…
Great episode – loved the new intro (especially the bait-and-switch). I’ve always wondered about Pol Pot and his reign on terror, and this was a LOT easier than doing any work and researching it. Now I need to go re-watch The Killing Fields, as the movie was powerful when I was younger, but the context wasn’t clear.
One quick comment about polecats: the European polecat is far more closely related to the domestic ferret (to the point of possibly being the genesis of the modern domestic ferret), whereas the skunk has now been classified into it’s own family, after comparing the genetic evidence.
Pol Pot showed up in the sadly foreshortened comic series The Exterminators, under his real name of Saloth Sar, working for the Bug-Be-Gone agency as an in-house scientist.
One of the images I remember clearly from the killing fields is a five year old coming in with a group of Khmer Rouge, and the little child takes a position, holds up his AK-47, and sights it at the main characters of the film. It was very poignant.
I also a recall a scene later, while Dr. Haing Ngor is capturedâ€¦ a child comes by and rips of several plants that he had managed to grow outside his hut. Dr. Haing is very penitent in that “please don’t kill me” way to the childâ€¦ but I don’t remember understanding what the complaint was. The growing of plants seems acceptable according to the agrarian party line you talked about. Did you guys catch the reason? (I think this might have been while famine was going on, as well.)
Two pop culture references, besides the Killing Fields:
Swimming to Cambodia – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094089/
Eddie Izzard on evil “mass mudering fuckheads” –
“But there were other mass murderers that got away with it! Stalin killed many millions, died in his bed, well done there; Pol Pot killed 1.7 million Cambodians, died under house arrest at age 72, well done indeed! And the reason we let them get away with it is because they killed their own people, and we’re sort of fine with that. â€œAh, help yourself,â€ you know? â€œWe’ve been trying to kill you for ages!â€ So kill your own people, right on there. Seems to beâ€¦ Hitler killed people next door… â€œOhâ€¦ stupid man!â€ After a couple of years, we won’t stand for that, will we?”
I recently watched an episode of The Deadliest Warrior pitting Pol Pot versus Saddam Hussein. Pol Pot did not fare well.
This episode reminded me of a story from of the Moth Podcast. It’s the account of a woman living in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and the refugee camp afterwards. Sorry for the round about link, but I couldn’t find it in the Moth’s archives.
As Gavin pointed out, Ngor was murdered in ’96. The murder created a mini legacy of conspiracy theories – some say it was a bungled mugging, others say it was a PP ordered hit.
His own story before escaping Cambodia is pretty sad. He was imprisoned with his pregnant wife, but she died giving birth – despite being a Gynecologist, he couldn’t reveal his training otherwise they’d all die. But she ran into complications and died. You’d have to imagine that’ll tear at a man’s soul for life.
Ghastly topic but clearly well researched. Well done guys. Initially I was a bit annoyed you weren’t clearer about what happened to those sent out of the cities, but that stopped when you described S21.
Only negative is the intro music. Your original (the Bam one) is great because it’s so short and punchy; the Muppet one is just awesome; this one was just way too long and not particularly interesting. Full marks otherwise. 🙂
It was the Jonny Quest theme in case you didn’t recognize it
I’m amazed no Dead Kennedy’s reference. I’m not really disappointed, as I’m not a big fan. But after The Killing Fields, it has to be the best know pop culture reference.
I actually am a Dead Kennedy’s fan, so the fact that I missed out a chance to bring up “Holiday in Cambodia” is personally disappointing.
Here’s the Eddie Izzard bit that Lara mentioned: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFtkJd8w5UQ
“Go back and listen to Hitler.”-Kevin Leeson
Oh the importance of context.
Thought I’d listened to every episode and then I found this one. Not sure how I missed it but I feel like it’s Christmas morning! Love the podcast! Huge fan! Keep up the great work!