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July 11, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-07-11

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By
A w
me
by Hen
extensi
Anders
million
ed to d
the exo
This
ported
ed by e
As th
Camboc
sed hw
ing alo

KHMER ATROCITY REPORTS COUNTERED
Different story behind the
RICHARD BOYLE " YET NOT one of the 1100 fore- bandages had not been changed, rats on the -streets, and feared
ite House intelligence ign nationals, including about 20 and amputations were routinely an epidemic of bubonic plague,
emo discussed publicly journalists, who left on the two performed without anesthetics. or even worse, cholera o- ty-
ry Kissinger and quoted convoys provided by the Khmer Those wealthy enough to pay, phoid. They had already receiv-
vely in a recent J a c k Rouge witnessed any bodies such as Lon Nol army officers, ed reports of several cases of
on column claims o n e abandoned on the roadside. We were treated at the better cholera among foreign natio-ais
Cambodians are expect- did see burned out villages but equiped Calmette hospital, the trying to enter the sanctuary of
lie from lack of care in didn't know if they had ')ean de- only really adequate medical the embassy.
dus from Phnom Penh. stroyed by the Khmer Rouge, facility in Phnom Penh. Anticipating these problems,
story is not only unsup- the Lon Not air force, a- the When the Khmer Rouge com- the Khmer Rouge had worked
by facts, but contradict- heavy fighting during the final m-ndos finally took Phnom out an elaborate plan to re-
yewitness observation. days of the war. Pens on April 17, these prob- move the residents of Phnom
e last American to leave lems were exacerbated by the Penh to the countryside where
a on May I, I witnes- mAnderson claimed the Ca m- last desnerate acts of Lon Nol they could be fed and housed in
ndreds of refugees pass- prevst se oi world o agents. Besides snining at civil- jungle base areas and later put
ng the road from Phnom rnt the utside ewarp from ans welcoming Khmer Roage to work harvesting rice.
h h giswyo do.s

Penh, emotied of nearly all peo-
ple by the Khmer Rouge after
its fall on April 17. As our con-
voy headed for Thailand, I saw
a still functionine hospital in
Phnom Penh, the Calmette, once
run by the French, now admin-
ister by the Khmer Rouge, re-
lay stations and rest stops along
the road out of Phnom Penh,
where Khmer Rouge troops -
mostly women - and Buddhist
monks supplied refugees with
food and water.
The exodus was orderly, re-
fugees moving at a leisurely
pace on bicycles, ox-carts and
on foot. (A few drove cars, al-
though most automobiles w e r e
abandoned in Phnom Penh be-
cause little gas was available.)
KHMER ROUGE troons t oI1 d
me that they had their own hos-
pital at Tachmau, a town about
15 kilometers south of the cap-
tal, staffed with their o w n
doctors and eqvipued with Chin-
ese medical supplies.
Yet, the intellinence memo
prenared for the White Smtise
claimed peonle were dying from
hunger "since the Communists
provided no fod, water or med-
icine throughout the l o n g
march."
In his column, Anderson call-
ed the exacuation a 'death
march" and said the White
Ho'se memo described it as
"the greatest atrocity since the
Nazis herded Jews into g a s
chambers." According to t e
memo, bodies were floati'g in
the ri-er and abandoned on the
roadside.

learning wnat rney were cu.-g-
But Khmer Rouge commanders
- and troops - openly discus-
sed their strategy of evacuating
the cities with me as well as
Khmer-speaking foreign journ-
alists.
General Su - the man in
charge of negotiating the trans-
fer of foreign nationals at the
Thai-Cambodian iborder - told
me the Khmer Rouge had to
evacuate Phnom Penh or face
devastating epidemics and star-
vation.
Su said that the Khmer Rouge
commanders had held a secret
meeting in the Cambodian sjun-
gles in February, to discuss the
difficult task of taking a city
of two million with a military
force outnumbered and outgun-
ned three or four to one.
PHNOM PENH, which had a
ponilation of about 500,000 when
I first visited it in 1965, i a d
swollen to over two million by
AUril, 1975. Most of the new-
comers were refugees who fled
diring the early 70's when U.S.-
B52 bombers created "free fire
cones" in liberated villages, ei-
ther killing off the inhanitants
or forcing them to flee to Phnon
Penh or other larger cities.
I also witnessed hundreds of
ill natients, many of them un-
treated, at "Slaughterhoose
00", a converted basketball
court, and at several military
hosnit'ls, all run by the former
Lon Not government.
MANY OF THE patients were
dying of gangreine because their

A Camoouan refugee wthnmi s ionsu intow, pescm
fighting in suburbs north of Phnom Penh on April 16, shortly
before the Khmer victory. PNS photo by Richard Boyle.

ines
theme were two wall qualied
Khmer doctors and a large staff
of medics treating those pa-
tients too sick to make t h e
journey into the countryside.
When our convoy tin'ally left on
May 5, we passed Calmette and
the Khmer staff of about 30
came outside to wave goodbye to
us.
Conflicting accounts have ap-
peared in the press about how
the refugees were ordered to
leave the city. Newsweek maga-
zine, for example, quoted ex-
tensively its photographer Denis
Cameron's account of the Khmer
Rouge mistreating civilians dfr-
ing the evacuation, yet the
magazine failed to produce a
single photo from Cameron to
substantiate his charge. As-
sociated Press did run a photo
of a man waving a pistol, lab-
elling it a Khmer Rouge soldier
threatening merchants. T h e
man, however, was not dressed
like the Khmer Rouge lina troops
I photographed entering tlb e
city.
SYDNEY SCHANBERG of the
New York Times, according to
Newsweek, described a sorrew-
ful parade of people "following
blindly" into the countryside.
From what I saw, however, he
Khmer Rouge evacuation w a s
systematic and well-planned.
Schdnberg and Cameen's acc
counts of the evacuation differ
From the accounts of other fore-
ign jornalists, such as Patrice
Du Beer of Le Monde and free-
lancer Naoki Mabuchi. Mabuchi,
fluent in Khmer, produced a
half-hour film documentary
widely shown is Japan about
the takeover of Phnom Penh
which reported the detaied in-
structions given by the Khmer
Rouge to department refugees.
The White House memo, ac-
cording to Anderson, considers
the Phnom Penh evacuation the
world's greatest atrocity since
Hitler's murder of six million
Jews. While there were certain-
ly risks for the Khmer Rouge in
attempting the feat of moving
two million persons in a matter
of days, it is my opinion that
history will not share this as-
sessment. In fact, if the Khmer
Rouge had not attempted the
exodus, a million people may
have died from plague, cholera,
typhoid and starvation. T h a
would have been a true atrocity.
Richard Boyle is a veteran
combat reporter with the
Pacific News Service. Copy-
right Pacific News Service,
1975.
resource
by Ann Arbor Bank's garnish-
ing checking and savings ac-
counts of rent strikers), c or -
porate investors, insurance com-
panies, construction companies,
etc., not to mention government-
al agencies. Obviously, tenants
who attempt to organize f i n d
themselves up against a very
powerful and determined ad-
versary; the only political pow-
er the tenants have is that
which they derive from their
attempts to organize and their
ability to work together.
ULTIMATELY, the conflict
boils down to whether it will be
the financial interests or the
tenants who control rental hous-
ing.

Steve Downs is a staff
member of the Ann Arbor
Tenonts Union.

The Michigan Daily,
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Friday, July 11, 1975
News Phone: 764-0552
FditoriaStaff
JEFF' SORENSEN
Editor
PAUL HASKINS
Editorial Director
BETH NISSN . . .................. ...... Editorial Page Asst..
JO MARCO T .Y . ................................... Nght Editor
RUaBki ACRUM ........................... NtthtEtor
JEFF RISTINE ......................... . Night Editor
TIM SCHICK ."............... ... . ........ ....... Night Editor
DAVID WHITING .. . .... .. .................... Night Editor
BILtL TURQUE ... ........................Night Editor
ELAINE LETCHER ......At. Night Editor
TRUDY GAYER . ......................: Asst. Night Editor
ANN MARIE LIPINSKI .... ................... . ...... Asst. Night Editor
PAULINE LUBENS ... .............. . .............. Ass's. Night Editor
Business Staff
DEBORAH NOVESS
Business Manager
PETER CAPLAN... .......................Classitied Manager
BeETHl FRIEDMAN .. . . . . Sates Manager
DAVE PIONTKOWSKY.. .............. Advertising Manager
CASSIE ST. CLAIR . ...... Circulation Manager
STAFF: Nina Edwards, Anna Kwok
SALES: ColbB aennett, Cher Bledsoe, Dan nBlusgerman, Sylvia Calhoun,
Jeft Miligrom
Sports Editors:
Bill Crane Al Itrapsky
Night Editors:
Jon Chaves
Contributing Editors:
John Kahler Clarke Cogsdiis

troops, secret police agents sab-
otaged water filtration plants
and blew up power lines in the
last hours of the war. By the
evening of April 17, there was
so power in many parts of the
city, and the water supply was
running out.
LEAVING two million people
to survive in a city without pow-
er, with a dwindling food sup-
ply, and with totally inadequate
medical facilities could have re-
sulted in hundreds of thousands
of deaths.
French medical doctors staff-
ing Calmette told me at the
French embassy compound they
were worried about reports of an
increase in the number of dead
Tenant's Corner

The Khmer Rouge set op six
Or seven regroupment cen'ers
a few miles out of the city in
each direction - like spokes of
a. wheel. There the refugees
were temporarily camped a n d
told what village they would be
assigned to work in.
WHILE THE Khmer R o u g e
closed down Slaughter'souse 400
and the other squalid and crowd-
ed Lon Not government hospit-
als, they did allow the very ef-
ficient and relatively c 1 e a n
Calmette hospital to continue
operating during the exacuation.
Although they did order all the
French doctors and nurses, as
well as other Western nationals,
to go to the French embassy,

Rent strike: Tactic ,or

By STEVE DOWNS
FOR A GREAT number of
people, the rent strike is
primarily a way of attaining
some sort of redress for griev-
ances which they may have-
about the condition of their
dwelling place or the quality of
the maintenance which the land-
lord performs. In other words,
they view it primarily as an
economic measure.
However, there are also peo-
ple, including those active in
the Tenants Union, who view the
rent strike as a primarily poli-
tical act, or, more specifically,
as one tactic in a struggle which
we conceive to be fundamentally
oulitical. This struggle is that
which develops when tenants
organize to demand both decent
housing at a reasonable price
and a greater control ovsr that
housing. A struggle develops te-
cause these desires on the part

of the tenants must necessarily
be in conflict with the landper-
sons' desire to attain the great-
est possible profit from t a cei r
property without relinquishing
any of their control ove' the
lives of the people who rent
from them.
THIS would be enough in it-
self to traisform an ecionmic
measure into an act of political
struggle, but there is an even
greater reason for this to hap-
pen. This reason is that when
tenants organize to demand.
more rights or better services,
they are challenging not o n 1 y
their respective landlords and
landladies, but they are also
challenging the largest industry
in the United States, the hous-
ing and real estate industry.
Because this is so, the land-
persons can expect to receive
aid from banks (as evidenced

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