"To Destroy You is No Loss"

The endurance of Cambodian pop culture

(Page 2 of 2)

“To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss” was adopted as an official slogan of sorts by the Cambodian communists to refer to the urbanites and moderns they wanted annihilated. Both these films show that ghoulish phrase for the hideous lie it is. Both films ended with title cards about how, though the Khmer Rouge managed to kill many specific people, the victims' spirit and accomplishments live on.

That can seem like the sort of banality people mutter to quiet inner voices of outrage and pain. But the truth in it is the basis of all human civilization: we can send signals from our brains and hearts across generations and across nations. Whether murdered by fanatical advocates of evil ideologies or not, we will all end up dead. But not all of us will have people singing our songs, and our praises, decades after we’re gone. That Ros Sereysothea, who disappeared mysteriously under Khmer Rouge control, achieved that is proof enough that the Khmer Rouge failed.

Senior Editor Brian Doherty is author of This is Burning Man and Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.

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  • dhex||

    this was neat. thanks brian.

  • ||

    I saw Dengue Fever last summer in Seattle and they were awesome. I'm going to have to see this movie.

  • ||

    Great article, Brian.

    I've always found the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot to be the scariest of incredibly scary monstrous mass murderers.

    I think it has something to do with that slogan--"to destroy you is no loss"-- that conveys such sheer animal brutality. It's not an ideology, it's a death cult.

    It might also be because there are too many damn movies and video games abou WWII.

  • Bee||

    One of the things I'll miss when I someday flee LA for The Family Compound somewhere will be Asian political and economic immigrants. I went to elementary school with children of Hong Kong millionaires, Indonesian, Philipino and Korean shopkeepers, and Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees.

    I was too young to really understand what the refugees had been through. I'm glad. I wish my parents had been more welcoming to them. I don't recall my parents telling me they'd protested the Japanese internment, though, so I suppose that's no surprise.

    One of my college roommates had been a refugee. When her family came to visit, they stayed physically close to one another wherever they were - they almost huddled together. My roommate explained to me later that they'd learned to stay close for protection from physical attack. Staying together also lessened the chances that someone would simply disappear.

    I had a co-worker whose parents had been sent to separate labor camps. They were scientists. They both survived their time in the camps, but they were not allowed to continue working in their field after they were released - one parent went into sales and the other managed to escape to the US with her daughter, my coworker.

    When I meet people from other parts of the country who think all Asian people are Chinese, I get a little hot. These are usually also the same people who think all Hispanic people are Mexican, and all Indian subcontinental-types are Mooslim Ay-rabs.

  • Goldthwait||

    Are you trying to imply that the Khmer Rouge killed a lot of people in Cambodia? As a fan of Noam Chomsky, I can tell you that they only killed a few thousand people at most and all of those people were American foreign agents who deserved to die. At least that is what Dr. Chomsky has told us, and as we all know, he is never wrong.

    Now if you will excuse me, I have to read a book, with a forward by Dr. Chomsky, detailing how the Holocaust never happened.

  • ||

    It's surprising to me how limited the information is about Cambodia and the Khmer rouge holocaust.

    For those interested, one documentary that's available through Netflix is S21: la machine de mort Khmère rouge (It has english subtitles.) Ex-Khmer Rouge death camp guards speak with a former prisoner as he seeks to document what happened.

  • VelvetHog||

    Now if you will excuse me, I have to read a book, with a forward by Dr. Chomsky, detailing how the Holocaust never happened.

    (Probably a stupid question, but) Is this a real book? Which?

  • Jeff||

    I am a big fan of classic Khmer music, and I am a lifelong libertarian. So I was very please to see the webpage I made devoted to Ros Sereysothea (the golden voice of Cambodian music) is linked to in this article! She was murdered by the Khmer Rouge, one of about 2 million to die in under four years of collectivist rule. Anyway, check out her music and thanks to Reason for speaking up for our rights.

  • ||

    Now if you will excuse me, I have to read a book, with a forward by Dr. Chomsky, detailing how the Holocaust never happened.

    (Probably a stupid question, but) Is this a real book? Which?


    Nah, Chomsky would never give the Fascists any kind of break. I mean, they're practically anarcho-capitalists, to extrapolate from the complaints of so many whiny, self-righteous syndicalists. I'm more curious about the claim that he's made excuses for the Rouge.

  • ||

    Here is a good account of Chomsky on the Khmer Rouge.

    http://jim.com/canon.htm

  • Goldthwait||

    Nah, Chomsky would never give the Fascists any kind of break.


    Hahaha. I hope you actually don't believe this bullshit.
    http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2004/11/chomsky_and_hol_1.html

  • Goldthwait||

    Let me retyped my above post to avoid confusion.

    "Nah, Chomsky would never give the Fascists any kind of break."

    I hope you don't believe that bullshit.

    Visit this site:
    http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2004/11/chomsky_and_hol_1.html

  • Goldthwait||

    "Nah, Chomsky would never give the Fascists any kind of break. I mean, they're practically anarcho-capitalists, to extrapolate from the complaints of so many whiny, self-righteous syndicalists. I'm more curious about the claim that he's made excuses for the Rouge."

    For someone who makes such definitive statements on what Chomsky supposedly believes, it is absolutely amazing how you are so ignorant about his apologies for the Khmer Rouge. This is roughly akin to defending the Catholic Church's view of science during the Renaissance without knowing who Galileo is.

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