Quotes of the Day: Kill the Individual or Communism in a Socialist Utopia

 

“Socialism is a house and clothes all set for you, a carpenter’s plane to round rough faces, to make everyone identical.” — Victims of the Khmer Rouge

Since ancient times, Khmers have taken a keen interest in moral guidance and counsel of their elders. The Khmers also prided themselves as being clever and they took great pleasure in cleverly composed discourses. The use of words and witticism, rhyming, riddles and rapidly formed punning and spoonerisms was and still is considered to be the Khmer national habit. And the Khmer Rouge made use of this deeply rooted Khmer tradition to indoctrinate, control, and terrorize the people during their reign of terror, in the form of slogans, sayings, and songs.

Henri Locard’s wonderful book, Pol Pot’s Little Red Book: The Sayings of Angkar, is a collection of Khmer Rouge slogans recounted by survivors from all over Cambodia. The word angkar means organization; it’s how the Khmer Rouge referred to itself. Until September 29, 1977, when Pol Pot declared on the radio in a five-hour speech that angkar is the Communist Party of Kampuchea, the population only knew of the ominous angkar.

Angkar’s slogans, some were inspired by Maoist ideology, others were old Khmer proverbs and maxims stripped of all their common-sensical meanings, revealed the horrific reality of its communist ideology. Khmer Rouge junior cadres incessantly repeated the party slogans while revolutionary songs were playing on the radio. But for the rest of the population, angkar’s slogans and songs were mocked and jeered at, albeit in secret. Monsieur Locard included some counter-slogans and puns from the victims of the Khmer Rouge. These were the ones that were uttered between husbands and wives, close relatives, or trusted friends. Some of these counter-slogans have been confirmed by my own family. Some of them were even found in victims’ interrogations.

Here’s a popular pun:

Vannak ak thun = proletariat

Vannak at thuen = the class that does not persevere

This next pun was found in a prisoner’s confession at a torture and execution center in Takéo province.

Sangkumniyum = socialism

Sangkum nih yum = this society weeps

Several more counter-slogans:

Before we were happy, with this socialist society all happiness has totally disappeared.

When there was private property, the cows were fine and fat; now that we have made the revolution, the cows have become scrawny.

If you eat prahok (fermented fish paste, the soul of Khmer cuisine), you are unable to leap.

The revolution shines in all its splendor in a society radiant with joy, and we wear sandals fashioned out of automobile tires.

Doing the revolution means eating watery gruel with water spinach; when we reach communism, we shall eat only water spinach.

The red krama (Khmer scarf) goes with a black shirt adorned with a whole troop of buttons.

Hygiene for the health workers, a full stomach for the cadres, slit throats and broken heads for the people.

Long live the glorious Angkar! Destroy houses with tiled roofs, live in straw huts! Long live the wise Angkar! Destroy straw huts and live in the jungle.

“Red blood” are the tears of the baby in his/her mother’s womb and when he/she is three months old — this means his/her mother has worked for the revolution.

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There are 13 comments.

  1. Member

    One man can make a difference, a horrible difference.

    • #1
    • April 17, 2019, at 5:41 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Thatcher

    LC: The word angkar means organization, it’s what the Khmer Rouge referred to itself.

    Because I’m a bad speller, I thought angkar was part of Angkor Wat, the famous temple mountain complex in Cambodia. According to Wiki, the word Angkor means city or capital city, which is of course an organization of houses and people.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. We have 2 open dates left on the April Schedule. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #2
    • April 17, 2019, at 6:20 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Contributor

    Thanks, LC. Pol Pot and his horrors are difficult to fathom, and important to remember.

    • #3
    • April 17, 2019, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Thatcher

    LC,

    At the very root of Hegelian philosophy is a lack of respect or even recognition of the individual or an individual moral choice. Vague concepts like the World Spirit abound. Hegel is a formalist nihilist in his epistemology. However, a member of the group following him, the Young Hegelians, by the name of Karl Marx, doubles down on the lack of respect for the individual but with a full materialist determinist epistemology.

    Thus the die is cast very early. The individual is nothing and the state or even a meta-concept like the World Spirit is everything. This has the effect of totally negating the enlightenment and its emphasis on Rights and Justice for the individual. Marxian philosophy is like the darkest of the dark ages but with a pseudo-scientific ideology replacing any religious dogma. Each successive iteration, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, only justified greater and greater force to achieve a lunatic end.

    This was the poison that was unleashed on Cambodia in its most virulent form by Pol Pot.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
    • April 17, 2019, at 6:57 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. Member
    LC Post author

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    LC: The word angkar means organization, it’s what the Khmer Rouge referred to itself.

    Because I’m a bad speller, I thought angkar was part of Angkor Wat, the famous temple mountain complex in Cambodia. According to Wiki, the word Angkor means city or capital city, which is of course an organization of houses and people.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. We have 2 open dates left on the April Schedule. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    Yeah, they are two different words that happen to be similar phonetically. 

    • #5
    • April 17, 2019, at 7:17 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Contributor

    LC: The revolution shines in all its splendor in a society radiant with joy, and we wear sandals fashioned out of automobile tires.

    To be perfectly fair I’ve had some good luck with those sandals.

    • #6
    • April 17, 2019, at 7:18 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Member

    There are times when far left Democrats should be required to explain how and why their policies will not lead to the Killing Fields. Some of them may have perfectly good explanations, but they should be required to articulate them so we can be sure.

    • #7
    • April 17, 2019, at 7:58 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. Member

    They think it’s a way to get on top of big business but it’s the means for the larger companies to have ever greater control, for tiny business to survive and medium size to come and go but gradually die. How it develops from there is hard to see. We don’t know what China will do, or when. The economy will stagnate and the US will evolve into something different if China does’t make us irrelevant lead us into war. Our dynamism comes from the ground up and we’re going to lose it first. The flabby left, the kids will become irrelevant. The technically competent and first rate managers will do well as they’ll staff the corporations and government. The long term assuming no war is a narrowing of the elite until it strangles itself.

    • #8
    • April 17, 2019, at 8:34 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Contributor

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    There are times when far left Democrats should be required to explain how and why their policies will noead to the Killing Fields. Some of them may have perfectly good explanations, but they should be required to articulate them so we can be sure.

    Maybe we’ll get to that question after we have them explain their support for the jailers of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Eastern Europe.

    • #9
    • April 17, 2019, at 12:35 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    There are times when far left Democrats should be required to explain how and why their policies will not lead to the Killing Fields. Some of them may have perfectly good explanations, but they should be required to articulate them so we can be sure.

    Living among California far left Dems, I know you are right. Of course, if I were to propose the question about policies you suggest, their answers would ring with denial. “We only mean to allow all people to attain true equality. To not leave our sisters and brothers who were unfortunate to have darker colored skin endlessly suffering under the rules of racist Capitalism. We only mean to free our transgendered from thoughts that they are lesser than others.

    It is our desire to destroy the patriarchial rape culture that has festered under Capitalism. And our further desires to see that there is peace and love and happiness when our Socialist Paradise comes about.”

    I know that all of us here have the same goals as far as ensuring people have equality and the ability to feel good about themselves because of new opportunities opening up. Although we in the Center don’t care for the idea that anyone who claims victim hood should be given that status with free payments from someone somewhere offered up to help them in dealing with their feelings of oppression. (For some reason, those payments would never actually come from the well to do white liberals who espouse these ideals – only from “the government.”)

    So it is clear from living among these socialists that unless a person seeks out to follow to the letter the exact meme issued each week and month from the internal leaders of some anonymous echo chamber, then you are to be shunned.

    For one six month period they sought to destroy all statues that have any suggestion that a Civil War was fought in the 1860’s. Then when that activity backfired, as school districts across the south slashed budgets to cover the costs of statue removal, they moved on to a new goal. The new goal became gun control, with many students led by their teachers marching in the nearby streets.

    When that movement petered out, they moved onto the issue of the caravans, which seem to have magically sprung up but there are indications that someone like George Soros is behind them with lots of money.

    They have finally arrived at the fact that you cannot be considered a decent person unless the needs of the transgendered are on your mind 24/7/. I can only add how happy I am that I don’t need to be working for anyone but my own business any more. I can’t imagine having to keep my mouth shut all daylong.

    • #10
    • April 17, 2019, at 12:51 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Coolidge

    LC, your essays are such a true expression of originality and thoughtfulness.

    I am always amazed at your writing.

    • #11
    • April 17, 2019, at 12:56 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. Member

    Hank Rhody, Meddling Cowpoke (View Comment):

    LC: The revolution shines in all its splendor in a society radiant with joy, and we wear sandals fashioned out of automobile tires.

    To be perfectly fair I’ve had some good luck with those sandals.

    True, but you were a child then, and all your friends were similarly shod – as were often their parents as well.

    • #12
    • April 17, 2019, at 7:39 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Member

    Having lived in Cambodia for the last five years, one thing I’ve learned is how much the Khmer loves a pun. So, it’s not surprising that they turned the KR’s slogans into puns. Sok-saa-bai? Sai-saa-bak.

    • #13
    • April 21, 2019, at 7:41 AM PDT
    • 4 likes