A lecture on the Cambodian dictator by Philip Short, former BBC Correspondent
The Cambodian leader, Pol Pot, was the architect of a revolution whose radical egalitarianism exceeded any other in history. In the three years he held power, he transformed his country into a 20th century slave state in which more than a million people -- a fifth of the population -- perished. How did an idealistic dream of justice mutate into one of humanity's worst nightmares? Using material from his just-released book, the historian and biographer Philip Short discusses the causes of the Cambodian tragedy; the responsibility of outside powers, including the US; and the perils of imposing simplistic solutions on complicated problems -- an issue which continues to bedevil US foreign policy today.
Philip Short was born in Bristol in 1945 and educated at Cambridge University. He worked for the BBC for 25 years as a foreign correspondent, contemplating the eccentricities of political leaders in many different cultures, from Sihanouk to Brezhnev and Clinton to Deng Xiaoping. In 1997 he finished his final stint as BBC Washington correspondent and spent a year teaching comparative politics at the University of Iowa. He lives in Provence with his wife and son. Philip Short's first book, BANDA, about the idiosyncratic Malawi dictator, was published in 1974. THE DRAGON AND THE BEAR, a comparison between China after Mao and Russia after Stalin followed in 1982. MAO: A LIFE, widely acclaimed as the definitive biography of the late Chinese leader, has been published in Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Russia, Spain and the United States and in China in 2003. His biography of POL POT was published in the US in February 2005.
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Parking in UCLA's Lot 3 costs $7.
Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies