Another Genocide Denial

24 Sep

I stopped writing for Counterpunch several years ago when I realized it would not stop publishing articles by Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon.  I had written to its main editor Alexander Cockburn about Shamir’s anti-Jewish and Holocaust denial writings, but Cockburn answered flippantly.

Alexander Cockburn died a few months ago, but the articles by Shamir keep on coming.  The latest was complete genocide denial, not about Jews, but Cambodians.  It is a glorification of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge “experiment”!

It has to be read to be believed.  A few quotes and my comments in bold.

Shamir -” The Pol Pot the Cambodians remember was not a tyrant, but a great patriot and nationalist, a lover of native culture and native way of life.”

Throughout the article he doesn’t mention a single Cambodian by name or quote any Cambodian book or article.

Shamir -” The Cambodians I spoke to pooh-poohed the dreadful stories of Communist Holocaust as a western invention”

He could read the accounts of the survivors of the massacres and private Khmer Rouge records if he cared to after his Cambodian vacation .  The Yale Genocide Project has many.

Shamir -” Noam Chomsky assessed that the death toll in Cambodia may have been inflated ‘by a factor of a thousand.’ ”

As far as I know this is a complete distortion.  Chomsky was talking about an article in the New York Review of Books by  Jean Lacatoure who reported that the Khrmer Rouge had killed two million and then when questioned by Chomsky said it might have been a few thousands.  Lacatoure asked why was the figure so important.  Chomsky said, “Ed Herman and I responded to his challenge to me by saying that we thought that a factor of 1000 did matter…”

Shamir -” The people now in charge of the US, Europe and Russia want to present every alternative to their rule as inept or bloody or both. They especially hate incorruptible leaders, be it Robespierre or Lenin, Stalin or Mao – and Pol Pot.”

The “incorruptible Stalin and Mao”!   Enough said.

I think this article from a year ago in the liberal-leftists Guardian (UK) fairly sums up what happened in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.  It was a mad bloodbath.  Counterpunch which I still read selectively should be ashamed for publishing Shamir’s trash.

Chomsky and Cambodia

A little more about Chomsky whom the Right slanders as variously supporting the Khmer Rouge, or minimizing or denying the massacres.  Rightists, of course, hate him for mentioning the massive numbers of Cambodian killed by U.S. bombing in the ’70’s and for pointing out how this helped Khmer Rouge recruitment and led to their eventual conquest of the country.

Here he’s interviewed in the Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia) in 2010 by Stuart Alan Becker who talks about the genocide and questions Chomsky on why some believe he was “soft on the Khmer Rouge atrocities”.

Here’s an article about the charges written  in 1985 by Christopher Hitchens, then a liberal, and in his last decade a raging neo-conservative.  It’s called “The Chorus and Cassandra”.   Here’s a quote,  “Chomsky and Herman wrote that ‘the record of atrocities in Cambodia is substantial and often gruesome.’ They even said, ‘When the facts are in, it may turn out that the more extreme condemnations were in fact correct.'”

and here’s more about the controversy from Australia

The Boring Truth: Chomsky Does Not Support Pol Pot

 In short the writings of Noam Chomsky give no support to Shamir’s ravings.


One Response to “Another Genocide Denial”

  1. Louis Godena February 23, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

    “Throughout the article he doesn’t mention a single Cambodian by name or quote any Cambodian book or article.” This is a bit disingenuous, to say the least, the entire “legend” of Khmer Rouge was invented, fed, nurtured, and made great with hardly a bona-fide Cambodian in sight. Starting with Pouchand (“Year Zero”) and Paul (“Murder of a Gentle Land”), and continuing with a whole herd of western academics (David Chandler, Henri Locard, Ben Kiernan, et al), the legend has seen yeoman service in the cause of anti-Communism and expatiating America’s genocidal role in Southeast Asia. Cambodians, when they do appear, are clearly packaged for western consumption and to serve western interests. Practically all the “quality press” is owned or controlled by westerners (e.g., Cambodian Daily, Phnom Penh Post, etc). Western NGO’s seem to provide most of the employment opportunities for those young Cambodians schooled in western ways and values (the rest are herded into low-wage factories catering to Western customers). So, yes, excoriate Mr Shamir, et al, but do not do so on the basis of absent Cambodian voices. Please.

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