Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - An olive branch of hope



An olive branch of hope

An olive branch of hope

Dear Editor,

I am writing to clarify  the meaning of "olive branch", a term used in the article "Mu Sochua offers olive branch to PM Hun Sen over lawsuits" (May 11).

On April 23, 2009, I took a very bold step to sue a man who is greatly feared by the people of Cambodia, and this symbolic legal pursuit has served as a message to the public that fear is only a mental block that will continue to paralyse us unless we look at it straight on and deal with it. The people of Cambodia are still traumatised by the legacy of the Khmer Rouge. It is because of this trauma that we are willing to live through injustices that control our daily lives and even the fate of a nation. If we continue to live in fear, then we will pass it on to our daughters and sons, and thus become part of the web of unchallenged power.

My lawyer presented all the evidence to the prosecutor when he was summoned. I am forever grateful to my lawyer, who is a very brave man, who believes in building justice for our people despite the fact that he is facing a lawsuit filed against him by the prime minister and a complaint by the lawyer of the prime minister with the Cambodian Bar Association for "defaming" the prime minister, but mainly because he dares to defend me.  My lawyer could be disbarred as every decision made in this country is controlled by one central system. The price my lawyer might have to pay is too great. The public as well as the international community, who have been part of this process through their statements and watching eyes, should continue to monitor with great vigilance.  

Last week I responded positively to an appeal by a war veteran who asked that both lawsuits be withdrawn and for both sides to put the interests of the nation first. I was so moved by his plea, I felt and heard the wisdom in his words. He made that appeal when I was on the Hello VOA  call-in program on Voice of America.

I suppose that my response is labelled as an "olive branch" and I feel honoured by this comparison, as in Western culture the olive branch is a symbol of peace or good will, or at least a sign of hope for peace in time of war, and it is handed over by one side of the parties in conflict to the other side. It is far different from defeat or fear. I can only hope that we Cambodians who have long been in conflict with one another will consider the "olive branch" as the lotus flower that we bring to the pagoda to pray for peace.

Although the fight is far from over, I remain hopeful that there shall be justice. I rest in peace now because I know that millions of women the world over fight the same fight and that our networks are more powerful than the power of leaders who control their people through fear.

Mu Sochua, MP

Sam Rainsy Party

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants