A letter to supporters from Mu Sochua - May 8, 2009

We'd like to share this letter with you from Mu Sochua.

To all who have taken the journey with me to defend women's rights and equal justice before the law,

As I am writing this short note to express my deepest thanks and appreciation for all the moral and legal support I have received from all of you in the past four weeks, my mind is calm and at rest. I have taken 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 and it will continue to paralyze us unless we look at it straight and deal with it. The people of Cambodia are still traumatized by the legacy of the Khmer Rouges. It is because of this trauma, 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 we are part of the webs of the unchallenged power.

I wish to inform you that my lawyer has presented all the evidence to the prosecutor two days ago. 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 law suit filed against him by the prime minister and the complaint by the lawyer of the prime minister with the Cambodian Bar Association for "defaming"the prime minister. My lawyer could be disbarred as every decision made in this country is controlled by one central system. I ask that every message you sent out also includes my lawyer's case. The price he might have to pay is too great. I have promised him that he will never be forgotten as we look for a solution to this situation.

I have publicly honored an appeal by a war veteran who has asked that both law suits be withdrawn and for both sides to put the interests of the nation first.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 a radio "Call-In"program on Voice of America that was heard by millions of listeners in Cambodia. The case now rests in court and I can only hope that the prime minister is also able to honor the call.

It is yet unclear what the court will decide as it is not an independent court. It is not yet certain that my immunity will not be lifted as it all depends on the prime minister and the elected representatives from his party will act on his order.

Time has come for me to move on and to go back to my agenda for change. I feel that the storm is over and I am more ready to catch one wave at a time.

Yesterday I traveled to a former Khmer Rouge area of my constituency and listened to hundreds of villagers, half of them women, pour out their anger because the government has granted 10,000 hectares of forest and land to a rich company without consulting the people. The concession has even affected the villagers who have been settled there for more than a decade. During the public forum, I saw the anguish, the despair and the plea for help of the villagers who have no where else to go. I will take action as their elected representative. I will ask for their protection and a fair share of the land and preservation of the forest.

I will end here by asking you to please send letters to the prime minister not to put blame on him but to invite him to honor the call of the people for his attention so their lives can be secured. Putting an end to the law suits will allow both of us to concentrate on our duties and responsibilities to the people.

Although the fight is far from being over, I think I have learned a great deal during these four weeks. 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.

Best wishes, Mu Sochua, MP

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