| The ossuary or the bone pagoda of Phi Lai at Ba Chuc |
A little known story was revealed at Meta House tonight, as part of his research studies by Philip Taylor, where the Khmer Rouge stealthily invaded a small corner of Southern Vietnam and returned back over the border with 20,000 people in tow. It happened in April 1978 and coincided with the massacre at the village of Ba Chuc, where some 3,000 men, women and children were slaughtered. The 20,000 were all Khmer Krom, the Khmer ethnic grouping that inhabit the Mekong Delta. They lived in villages close to the Cambodian border, as is Ba Chuc, and were likely targeted by the Khmer Rouge, primarily to use as a labour force. The forced migration took place over a matter of days and of the 20,000 that were taken, only half of them were still alive when the Vietnamese pushed the Khmer Rouge out of Cambodia nine months later. A fascinating story but at the same time, one that raises many questions including why the apparently same Khmer Rouge forces decided to annihilate everyone in Ba Chuc; yet in villages close by they ordered the inhabitants to follow them back to Cambodia. Philip Taylor's studies and interviews with those involved continue and more of the story is sure to come to light in the future.
Labels: Ba Chuc, Khmer Krom, Khmer Rouge