>Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia


In case you are curious, here’s the actual story behind Hem Keth Dara’s shortlived “Nationalist Movement”

Picture: Hem Keth Dara, son of General Hem Keth Sana, is seen, on this photo, brandishing a handgun in the street of Phnom Penh of 17 April 1975

Excerpt from “Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia”, page 281By Arnold R. Isaacs (1983), JHU Press.

The illusion of joyous reconciliation was fostered, briefly, when a contingent of black-clad soldiers marched down Phnom Penh’s Monivong Boulevard early on the morning of the 17th to take the surrender of the armor and infantry soldiers near the Hotel Le Phnom. After the government troops put down their weapons, they were smilingly told to go home. Civilians nearby began embracing and crying with joy, joined by the black-clad uniformed arrivals. Those not too elated to notice such things, however, quickly realized that these men were too clean, too neatly dressed, and too untired to be front-line troops. In fact, they were not Khmer Rouge soldiers at all but Phnom Penh students, led a general’s son named Hem Keth Data, whose bizarre attempt to take power before the Khmer Rouge arrived was apparently undertaken on behalf of the perpetually scheming Lon Non. In the confusion of the day Keth Dara succeeded a little later in taking control of the government radio station, announcing himself in a four-minute broadcast as head of the “Nationalist Movement.” His followers he called “younger brothers” who had seized Phnom Penh in order “to allow elder brothers from outside” – presumably the Khmer Rouge – to enter the city without fighting.

source: ki-media
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