An opposition lawmaker is among seven women activists celebrated in a new play that opened in New York last weekend, drawing an international audience that included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Seven” is a collaboration between the activists, including parliamentarian Mu Sochua, and seven female writers and highlights the lives and struggles of women from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Gutemala, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, and Russia.
“We chose women around the world we believe have stepped up to make changes and have worked to carry their society and community forward through times of difficulties,” said Alyse Nelson, CEO and co-founder of Vital Voices Global Partnership, in an interview with VOA Khmer. “And I think Mu Sochua is a perfect example.”
Nelson, whose organization initiated the play in 2006, said Mu Sochua had put herself in “great danger” to ensure equal rights for other women.
“Seven” follows her life before the fall of Phnom Penh through her time as a student in the US, a UN worker on the Thai-Cambodian border and as a politician.
“What is important in this play is that we see the lives of women’s rights activists are at risk of violence in a country where there is an absence of democracy, an absence of women’s rights protection, a lack of law enforcement, and an absence of the rule of law,” said Mu Sochua, who is a member of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. “This is real life turned into a play, not just a play by itself.”
Mu Sochua lost a defamation suit to Prime Minister Hun Sen last year, but she said that episode is not included in the play.
The play has been produced in many countries, and Mu Sochua said it demonstrates that women’s issues go beyond politics.
“When it comes to women’s issues, they speak with one voice to protect women and to admit the truth, especially when a woman becomes the victim of violence or rape,” Mu Sochua said.