This piece by Alex Hinton, titled “Lessons From the Killing Fields of Cambodia – 30 Years On,” caught my eye, because it’s been a gloomy contention of mine that nothing can be done to stop holocausts. Always we say, “Never again,” but for reasons that are more practical than moral it does happen, again and again. I thought Hinton, who authored a book on the Khmer Rouge, might throw new light on the question.
In a way, he does. It turns out that the lessons are for us: tips on how America can be pushed back from the edge of mass murder, and our government stopped just short of systematic viciousness. Here’s a sample:
In our age of terrorist fear, as suspect Arabs and Muslims vanish, are tortured, or held without trial, the Khmer Rouge period cautions us about the dangers of political paranoia. The enemy within, too often, turns out to be ourselves as – driven by fear – we violate the rights of others.
Thank God for that warning. Meanwhile, the good folks over at nkzone report that South Korea, to avoid offending a truly monstrous regime, will abstain from the UN vote condemning the human rights catastrophe in North Korea. They abstained in 2004 too. So there you have it. America gets lectured about ending its totalitarian reign of terror. Koreans of all ages die violently in North Korea but their cousins in the south abstain from criticism, again and again. I rest my gloomy case.