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Khmer Rouge Leaders

On April 17, 1975, Khmer Rouge soldiers marched into Phnom Penh, killing those who worked for the former regime and forcing the rest of the inhabitants into the countryside to labor in the fields. In attempting to turn the country into a classless, agrarian society, the Khmer Rouge eliminated schools, money, markets, the press, the post office, religion, private property, and freedom of movement. Over the next nearly four years, at least a quarter of Cambodia’s population died from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.


This photographic essay tells the stories of 51 men and women who joined the Khmer Rouge revolution in the 1960s and early 1970s. Although most Cambodians view the former Khmer Rouge as cruel and sometimes evil, this book demonstrates that they and their families faced the same struggles and hardships as their victims, and points to our common humanity.