1980s Punk Bands: Holiday In Cambodia – The Dead Kennedys and A Case Of Mistaken Identity.
Above Photo: The single cover to Holidays in Cambodia.
The above, graphic record cover adorned US Punk Band the Dead Kennedys’ 1980 single, ‘Holiday in Cambodia’. Oddly, the band, that single, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge all manage to get (different) mentions in my ’70s-’80s Punk and New Wave memoir Bombed Out!
The record cover was presumably selected with the intention of chillingly conveying the mayhem and utter horror of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia, and it’s an image I still remember from when I bought the single back in Liverpool all those years ago.
When I was doing some research a while back, I realised they – or whoever had chosen the cover – had made a serious mistake, and that the image had nothing at all to do with the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, murdered Cambodians or Cambodia itself, for that matter.
The image in fact depicts the brutal murder and mutilation of peacefully-protesting Thai students from Thammasat University in Bangkok by a bunch of armed paramilitary thugs in 1976. The official murder toll was put at forty-six students who were shot or beaten to death and many had their bodies mutilated. Emergency services put the number of dead at 100.
Of course, nobody was every charged or held accountable for these brutal murders, but that is what is depicted on the Dead Kennedys single cover, and not any of the utterly horrific Khmer Rouge killings in Cambodia.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
The Dead Kennedys – Holiday in Cambodia