First They Killed My Father

The autocratic leader of the Khmer Rouge whose policies lead to the deaths of an estimated two million Cambodians. Pol Pot’s name begins as a mysterious rumor whispered across villages after the Khmer Rouge takeover; eventually it replaces “Angkar” in Loung’s propaganda lessons and chants, reflecting that he is a figure even more important than the government. Loung hears people describe Pol Pot as a fat, brilliant soldier with “kind eyes,” yet wonders if those eyes can see that his people are starving. Loung grows to hate Pol Pot for all the pain he has caused her family. She often wishes for his violent death and tells Chou that she will kill him.

Pol Pot Quotes in First They Killed My Father

The First They Killed My Father quotes below are all either spoken by Pol Pot or refer to Pol Pot. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of First They Killed My Father published in 2001.
Chapter 13 Quotes

I am a kid, not even seven years old, but somehow I will kill Pol Pot. I don’t know him, yet I am certain he is the fattest, slimiest snake on earth. I am convinced that there is a monster living inside his body. He will die a painful, agonizing death, and I pray that I will play a part in it. I despise Pol Pot for making me hate so deeply. My hate empowers and scares me, for with hate in my heart I have no room for sadness. Sadness makes me want to die inside. Sadness makes me want to kill myself to escape the hopelessness of my life. Rage makes me want to survive and live so that I may kill. I feed my rage with bloody images of Pol Pot's slain body being dragged in the dirt.

Related Characters: Loung Ung (speaker), Pol Pot
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
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Pol Pot Character Timeline in First They Killed My Father

The timeline below shows where the character Pol Pot appears in First They Killed My Father. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10: Ro Labor Camps, January 1976
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...Loung worries that the family will starve. Pa suspects Kim’s firing has to do with Pol Pot , a name that has begun to be whispered around the village as the rumored... (full context)
Chapter 11: New Year’s, April 1976
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...to trade—even though bartering is considered treason. Meanwhile Kim says more people are talking about Pol Pot as the leader of the Angkar, though his identity remains mysterious. People say he is... (full context)
Chapter 13: Pa, December 1976
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...to the gods to bring Pa back. She then tells Chou that she will kill Pol Pot . She feels so full of hatred that it scares her and leaves no room... (full context)
Chapter 16: Child Soldiers, August 1977
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...and red scarves with fake flowers then get up to sing songs of praise for Pol Pot and the Khmer soldiers. Despite the lyrics, Loung is happy to hear music once again,... (full context)
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
Pol Pot is now recruiting all children from age eight to help fight against the Youns. Met... (full context)
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
Pol Pot has grown to be more important than the Angkar and is given credit for seemingly... (full context)
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...take turns guarding the camp. When it is Loung’s turn to guard, she reflects that Pol Pot does not love her like Met Bong says—he hates her, in fact, though she does... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Last Gathering, May 1978
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...and thinks of how Keav died there alone. When people are too weak to work, Pol Pot sends them there to die. (full context)
Chapter 19: The Walls Crumble, November 1978
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...angrier than ever before and charges at her Youn dummy in training, pretending it is Pol Pot and reflecting that she no longer has to “pretend to be an orphan.” (full context)
Chapter 20: The Youn Invasion, January 1979
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...Youns have invaded, adding that they are raping women and killing men. She also declares Pol Pot all powerful, and Loung is confused as to why they are taught to fear the... (full context)
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...the mob of people and walk until night. When they rest, Loung overhears people cursing Pol Pot ’s name and discussing the Khmer Rouge’s defeat by the Youns. Loung thinks of how... (full context)
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...Youns are there to protect them, having marched into Cambodia three weeks earlier and defeated Pol Pot . They say Pol Pot had provoked invasion by massacring Vietnamese border villages in what... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Execution, March 1979
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...The crowd argues about the most painful way to kill him, and Loung notes that Pol Pot has made her a person “who wants to kill.” (full context)