An inspiring Sunday evening

Edmond and I went to listen to a talk by Amy Goodman. She is a journalist, a reporter, an advocate for democracy and social change in America. She founded Democracy Now 20 years ago. The program is now distributed to 1,500 TV and radio stations.

The venue was crowded with people of all ages. The talk was truly amazing. I learned a lot from her. It was an incredibly inspiring evening.

While I listened to her, I pictured the stories of immigrants who worked hard to have a better life in the U.S. Who have been legally allowed to work and live in the “country of opportunity” yet were afraid of their new president who is not a big fan of minorities, who banned Muslims from entering the country, who also ordered the booming in Syria from his dinner table, and last but not least, who mumbled to a reporter about missing his old life before becoming the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world.

I listened to a story of a lady who did not dare to leave her home because she was afraid that she might get arrested by the police who could deport her back to her country. And if that were to happen, she would be separated from her 4 children who were all born in the U.S.

I was told about execution in jails. In my mind, I saw pictures of a prisoner who was being executed and said his last goodbye to his family and friends, asking God to forgive him and his executioner before he died. I’ve never seen that in my life but the pictures flew in my mind while I listened to Amy.

Amy addressed the problems of the press in America and the issues with the new Trump administration that could affect many lives in the country and around the globe.

What really inspired me was the venue that hosted the event. It was a type of a restaurant and a bar but also a bookstore full of books on political, environmental, social, and social issues, including the history of those who sacrificed their life and who fought for a real democracy and freedom.

While I sat on the floor listening to Amy’s talk, I looked around the restaurant from the wall to the ceiling. I pictured myself in Cambodia. What if I had the money to open a café that I would call “Cafe and Library” in my hometown, Battambang, Cambodia?The place will be for people from all ages to come and enjoy the coffee. And they’ll also have free books to read. There will be different book sections such as, history of Cambodia, Arts and culture, circus, kid books, English, science, etc..!

The place will be for people from all ages to come and enjoy the coffee. And they’ll also have free books to read. There will be different book sections such as, history of Cambodia, Arts and culture, circus, kid books, English, science, etc..! The wall will be decorated by pictures of influential people including, Pol Pot, Hun Sen, Kem Ley, my parents, Arn Chourn Pond, Son Sisamouth, and countless other influential figures.

“Cafe and Library” will be a place to host events for young adults to come and discuss about political issues, social issues, arts and sharing important life events amount themselves.

Now, I have a new dream. A dream that is very easy to think of, but very difficult to achieve. Anyway, as my mother has always been telling me, “dream big, set your goals as far as the end of the ocean. It is ok if you cannot reach your objective, but at least you’ll get close to the finish line.” I love life. It is a blessing to wake up every morning and know that I’m healthy, young and I live with goals to achieve. Thank

Thank you Edmond, it was an inspiring evening before my final exams.


One thought on “An inspiring Sunday evening

  1. Dear Phounam,

    Thank you for your kind words of gratitude, and for the evident exticement and inspiration that Amy’s talk aroused in you. I am so glad we were able to attend this event together.
    First a word about gratitude: it is a two way street. So it is my turn to express my gratitude that you are here in Washington, living in our home and that you were willing and able to attend this event. My confession is that it has been over ten years that I have been wanting to go to a presentation by Amy Goodman. I have been a fan and supporter of her Democracy Now! project. Amazing how her modest initiative has flourished. Thanks for giving me that extra bit of motivation to attend the talk with you!
    Second, I am glad that you are able to make use of our studies in the US to get a first hand feel of the important and often dangerous role that free speech and an unembedded press plays in sustaining democratic institutions. The ability to speak freely from many vantage points and from multiple perspectives is indeed a rare possession. It is also one that we should do our utmost to preserve and nurture. I am hoping that someday, learning about experiences such as Democracy Now! may inspire you to start up projects of your own, to spread knowledge, and perhaps speak truth to power. The ability to think critically and to be exposed to all information is so essential for the growth of freedom, democracy and the well being of all the people.


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