Modern Cambodian History
From 1975-1979, Cambodia was systematically torn apart from its highest governmental levels all the way down to the most fundamental foundation of the family. The brutal Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, murdered 21% of Cambodia’s population targeting the aged, educated and professional classes of society. Their goal was an agrarian society that could easily be controlled and their means were genocide and displacement of the population from the cities to the province (countryside). The Khmer Rouge divided children from their parents in order to re-educate a new class in their controlling brutality.
In 1979, the Vietnamese army defeated the Khmer Rouge thus sending them into hiding in the jungles near the Thai Cambodian boarder. The Vietnamese army occupied Cambodia until 1989 – years of guerilla warfare and ethnic tension bringing fear, instability and more death to the Cambodian people. Democracy was restored in 1993 with a power sharing deal between two major political parities – one led by the Prime Minister and the other led by the royal family. This power sharing structure was broken by force in 1997 in 3 days of fighting resulting in control for the Prime Minister. Generally, there has been peace since 1999 with election related violence the exception. In 2008 those responsible for the genocide known as “the killing fields’ were being brought to trial.