Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by Pizzalover » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:11 am

@ Khartoum
You source is 1988. In terms of Genocide Studies this is stone age. Try the Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies. Not so much for the bullet proof definition but for a spectrum of approaches. Auto-genocide was used in the old days but now nobody really uses it anymore.

If you look at the IAGS (International Association of Genocide Scholars)'s definition and publications you will see that they go far beyond the 1948 definition or what international courts have recently done. I have posted their journal's recent Cambodia special issue in the cultural section.

But then, of course, they are not the only international association of genocide scholars. In other words, it is possible to find authoritative sounding definitions that differ greatly and suit any taste (and political need).

An approach that pays more attention to SEA has been proposed by Christian Gerlach, Extremely Violent Societies, Cambridge University Press 2010. He does a good job at showing that this genocide studies field is much less humanitarian driven than one would hope. Some of the known scholars haven written pretty gross political stuff. Like that the term genocide cannot be applied to the US - by definition - hello.....

Back to Cambodia. You do not need a single decision, a blue-print or a comprehensive ideology. Look up the Srebenica verdict. Very interesting in terms of state responsibility. I repeat this because it shows that some older definitions are more the product of scholarly vanity and sociological need for definitions than actual research and legal understanding. A lot of the cases that were thrown out by some of these deductive scholars (having a definitions and then awarding labels) later appear to be solid. Those guys simply had not done t heir homework and made final statements on pretty weak material (secondary literature).

As I said before, the definition of the "other" group is critical. More specifically the "other" in the eyes of the perpetrator. It is irrelevant if scholars (or anyone else) agrees on that definition, if it is academically sound, totally nuts, etc. The definition of a "Jew" is one example. The Nazi-definition would not be acceptable today, and rightly so, but it worked for them in 1941 and earlier. Still, they were happy to play with it when it suited them. Goering, one of the architects of the killings, once exclaimed that he defined who is a Jew.

Pol Pot and his gang invented the "Vietnamese by soul" in order to include anyone they wanted to into that deadly category. This is a perfect case where sociological or political science categories tend failing to grasp the situation. Historians are more empirical and can make sense out of the madness and show the logical within it.

To be clear, Pol Pot and his gang committed genocide against the Vietnamese and anyone else that did not meet their changing ideas about the perfect Khmer. Their definition was racist. None of the Khmer Krom would have survived the "liberation" of that region. By Pol Pot's world view they were less than the "new people." He wanted to liberate the territory not the people. Consequently, they massacred right away those civilians they encountered during their invasion of Vietnam - indiscriminately. The remaining "new people" were lucky that the Vietnamese saved them. As for the "true" Red Khmers, those with the right soul, there is data suggesting that the murdering would have continued once the core new people were gone. Pol Pot had a liking for mass murder as did the rest of his gang.

Flying Chicken's views are understandable though I dont share them. The important thing is not to subject the memory and suffering of the victims to one's own political agenda. [edit: i toned down the last part here]
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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by OrangeDragon » Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:44 pm

flying chicken wrote: I am not confused; that is why I repeatedly asked for your definition of genocide; because to my eyes and family experience, it was a genocide!
See pages 1 and 2... we lay out very clearly what the definition of the word genocide means. You don't necessarily get to redefine it because you were personally involved. Words have meaning, use the right ones. Unless your family was vietnamese, chinese or a monk, it wasn't genocide.
flying chicken wrote: say the Vietnamese are responsible for the killings during the genocide.
This is the most preposterous thing I've ever heard. Even former Khmer Rouge say they were the ones doing the killings, they just try to justify their actions in their defense... not claim someone else caused it.

A few have now taken up the "the vietnamese did it" line... which is like getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar and claiming you weren't the one who ate the cookies.
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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by flying chicken » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:19 pm

Thanks for sharing Pizzaman.

Dragon, would you mind not quoting me out of the context. So what is the apt term? Murder? Mass killings? Massacre? Or let us get PC about it "intentional killings." It still reads as genocide to me.

A few who? I am betting they are from the overseas Khmers who dont even live and experience the country nor have a clue what they are talking about! People like you and JBtrain annoy me; just like that AndyinAsia dude think he knows all about Cambodia and funny enough readers got fooled! I dare him to talk with me one on one about Cambodia!
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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by OrangeDragon » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:45 pm

flying chicken wrote:Thanks for sharing Pizzaman.

Dragon, would you mind not quoting me out of the context. So what is the apt term? Murder? Mass killings? Massacre? Or let us get PC about it "intentional killings." It still reads as genocide to me.

A few who? I am betting they are from the overseas Khmers who dont even live and experience the country nor have a clue what they are talking about! People like you and JBtrain annoy me; just like that AndyinAsia dude think he knows all about Cambodia and funny enough readers got fooled! I dare him to talk with me one on one about Cambodia!
No, a few of the former Khmer Rouge cadre members. Claiming they (as a whole) didn't kill any Khmer, only Vietnamese... and it it was the Vietnamese and US carpet bombs were what killed the Khmer and then pinned it all on them.

As for the term, we're discussing it, but you clearly don't understand (or want to) what the term genocide means. It is a term with fairly specific meaning... and just calling something that cause it was really really bad doesn't cut it.

Since you're presenting yourself as more knowledgeable about the country based on you're being Khmer and living here. Tell me, when did you move back to Cambodia to experience all of this?
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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by flying chicken » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:19 pm

OrangeDragon wrote:
flying chicken wrote:Thanks for sharing Pizzaman.

Dragon, would you mind not quoting me out of the context. So what is the apt term? Murder? Mass killings? Massacre? Or let us get PC about it "intentional killings." It still reads as genocide to me.

A few who? I am betting they are from the overseas Khmers who dont even live and experience the country nor have a clue what they are talking about! People like you and JBtrain annoy me; just like that AndyinAsia dude think he knows all about Cambodia and funny enough readers got fooled! I dare him to talk with me one on one about Cambodia!
No, a few of the former Khmer Rouge cadre members. Claiming they (as a whole) didn't kill any Khmer, only Vietnamese... and it it was the Vietnamese and US carpet bombs were what killed the Khmer and then pinned it all on them.

As for the term, we're discussing it, but you clearly don't understand (or want to) what the term genocide means. It is a term with fairly specific meaning... and just calling something that cause it was really really bad doesn't cut it.

Since you're presenting yourself as more knowledgeable about the country based on you're being Khmer and living here. Tell me, when did you move back to Cambodia to experience all of this?
I think this is my fourth time asking for the definition of genocide....I am not stubborn, but I really want to hear your definition of this term (yes I read page 1 and 2 even before your post).

In term of your final question, I did not move to Cambodia but traveled..the year was 2009 -- I stick around because of pithiness. I mingle, assimilate with the local 90% of my daily life. That is my experience. I hope I answered your question. Now let me lightly throw it back, even though I am not a native Svay Rieng nor my wife but we know more about this province (Svay Rieng) than your wife does! Take that!
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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by Pizzalover » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:47 pm

This debate cannot come to a satisfactory result for 2 reasons:
1) it started from the wrong end of the story, namely the definition. It would have been better to ask what was the mass violence/killings, how was it structured.
2) one has to get rid of the implicit idea that genocide is something more atrocious than murder. It is a form of murder and represents a district quality. But that quality does not elevate it above other forms.

Those current debates about definitions owe more the fears of and claims for retribution and compensation than to the actual established record.

One won't get the Vietnamese defense against the invasion and their counter-attack anywhere near genocide. This was war and, by the way, legitimate.

On the other hand, there seems to be some agreement that for genocide one needs an element of massive killings. This might seem to be a tautology but there is a good reason for that emphasis. in the 1990s, scholars began to argue that genocide had taken place when enough elements from the 1948 definition were present and not necessarily massive killings. Legal practice has clarified this point. Forceful conversion, bodily and mental harm, etc are all important but the element of massive killings is constituent for the application/definition of the term geno-CIDE.

Flying Chicken's concerns might be addressed by the word: war-crimes. Genocide is often also a war-crime but not all war-crimes, including massacres, constitute genocide. The execution of Red Khmers who had surrendered by the Vietnamese army might or does constitute a warm crime but not genocide. The use of mines as well. Other items might come to mind. But even if these points are taken together it wont add up.

For people with a distinct anti-Vietnamese orientation this could lead to a somewhat seemingly schizophrenic analysis: In the course of committing war-crimes the Vietnamese army had prevented further genocide and saved the victimized Cambodian population.

My own position is that the Cambodian population owes the Vietnamese army as does the population of formerly axis-occupied Europe to the US-army at the time.

As for the use of the term genocide. Better take a dispassionate look at what happened - easier said than done - and then do the next step. Easier to build common ground that way.

Perhaps one more thought. Could it be that today's anti-Vietnamese rhetoric is mistakenly reference or identified with Pol Pot's rhetoric? These were entirely different affairs despite seemingly identical words. That might explain some of the confusion about the word genocide in the Cambodian context.
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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by Flexnez » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:01 am

PL, to describe what happened in Cambodia as war crimes is flat out wrong, possibly with the exception of Khmer Rouge killings of Vietnamese in the border areas and in incursions into Vietnam. The legal definition of most KR killings in Cambodia is crimes against humanity of murder and extermination
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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by Pizzalover » Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:47 am

@Flexnez
Read my post again and you will find that your comment is incorrect. I wrote:
"Flying Chicken's concerns might be addressed by the word: war-crimes. Genocide is often also a war-crime but not all war-crimes, including massacres, constitute genocide. The execution of Red Khmers who had surrendered by the Vietnamese army might or does constitute a warm crime but not genocide. The use of mines as well. Other items might come to mind. But even if these points are taken together it wont add up."
It is pretty clear that my use of the word war-crimes pertained to the Vietnamese.

As for the massacres of Vietnamese citizens in Vietnam during the invasion I did link it to Red Khmer's extermination policies.

We do agree, i think. As for the use of genocide in my posts i tried to outline how the definition is evolving. The hard been a tendency to deny the Cambodian case the label 'genocide' because Cambodians killed Cambodians. But then these definition experts had not wasted too much time on actually studying the case a little closer. PLUS there was an active interest not to call it genocide as the US was in bed with Pol Pot. Dont expect too many US scholars to stand up against their government - at least those how are good at suitable advocacy.
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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by flying chicken » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:19 pm

So what is the apt term when the Yanks dropped millions of bombs in Cambodia during the Vietnam war Pizzalover?
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Re: Is calling the Cambodian genocide a genocide correct?

Post by Joker Poker » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:37 pm

Tricky Dickie!
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