The Corner

World

Cambodia Today, and Yesterday

Mu Sochua (Oslo Freedom Forum)

In my latest Q&A, I talk with two women from Cambodia. They are lovely and gracious — also steely and brave. Their names are Mu Sochua and Monovithya Kem. They belong to the opposition in Cambodia, and they are both in exile. Monovithya Kem is the daughter of the opposition leader, who is now in prison. In solitary confinement, in fact. She had an unusual upbringing. Most little girls, when they hopscotch, don’t have to worry about grenades.

Mu Sochua was born in 1954. She was 21 when the Khmer Rouge took power. She had left Cambodia at 18, fortunately. But her family, including her parents, were of course less fortunate.

The Khmer Rouge are still around, she tells me. The village chief next door could be a Khmer Rouge cadre. You are forced to live with the killers, many of whom hold considerable power. Indeed, the prime minister, Hun Sen, is a former Khmer Rouge cadre (not so former, says Mu Sochua). He has been in power since 1985.

When Mu Sochua returned from abroad to Cambodia, she was in her mid-30s. She entered politics. Indeed, she served in the government before turning to the opposition. She calls herself an “accidental politician.” Her father had told her, “Whatever you do, don’t go into politics. You can pursue whatever profession you want — but not politics.”

I’m reminded of Ojars Kalnins, a Latvian political leader. I interviewed him a couple of years ago. His mother told him, “Whatever you do, don’t go into politics — because they shoot the politicians first. Become a doctor or an engineer or something like that. Something that will allow you to adapt.”

Again, my Q&A with those remarkable Cambodians is here.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Worst Cover-Up of All Time

President Donald Trump may be guilty of many things, but a cover-up in the Mueller probe isn’t one of them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to appease forces in the Democratic party eager for impeachment, is accusing him of one, with all the familiar Watergate connotations. The charge is strange, ... Read More
White House

For Democrats, the Party’s Over

If the Democrats are really tempted by impeachment, bring it on. Since the day after the 2016 election they have been threatening this, placing their chips on the Russian-collusion fantasy and then on the phantasmagoric charade of obstruction of justice. The attorney general accurately gave the ingredients of the ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Other Class War

There is a class war going on inside the Democratic party. Consider these two cris de couer: Writing in the New York Times under the headline “America’s Cities Are Unlivable — Blame Wealthy Liberals,” Farhad Manjoo argues that rich progressives have, through their political domination of cities such as ... Read More