hemary Khoeun speaks up on the recently released political advertisement that compares Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to the Khmer Rouge government.
In the article she wrote for ColorLines, Khoeun mentioned that she can’t keep quiet as the Cambodian genocide has shot into the national spotlight and discussion.
Khoeun is a daughter of Cambodian refugees and was born in a refugee camp right after the war and genocide. She highlighted that herself is “a living testament to the impact that war has on multiple generations.”
The said ad started with a gloomy music and an image of AOC while being consumed by fire as graphics of the Cambodian genocide flashes back. The ad, which aired on ABC during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate in Houston, compares AOC’s policies to the Khmer Rouge that killed almost 2 million people in the 1970s.
Khoeun stated in her article that her community’s painful history should never be used as a tool for personal gain and claim it as “their” story. In the same article, she narrated the struggles of her family and other Cambodians, on how they were able to escape and how it is painful to losing your loved ones during the historical genocide.
“No politican, regardless of ideology, should use the suffering of the Cambodian people for personal gain. Our people have suffered enough,” she fearlessly stated.
Khoeun serves as a park district commissioner in Skokie, Illinois and is recognized to be the first-ever Cambodian-American woman to ever elected in any public office in US. She also works as the President of the National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial in Chicago.