Year published :May 2013

Pages :198 pp.

Size :14x21 cm.

Rights :world

ISBN: 9786162150630

We Didn't Start the Fire: My Struggle for Democracy in Cambodia

by David Whitehouse

Cambodia’s long-time opposition leader and former finance minister Sam Rainsy is committed to establishing democracy in his homeland. He is in exile in France to avoid a twelve-year prison sentence on politically motivated charges, and is banned from contesting the July 2013 elections. In this autobiography, he recounts his early years in Cambodia, his family’s expulsion and his relationship with Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge regime, the Vietnamese occupation, and Hun Sen’s control of the country since the 1980s.

With conviction and insight, Sam Rainsy addresses the issues of poverty and injustice in his country and discusses the challenges to initiating real political, social, and economic reform. His proposals provide a long-term roadmap for a new Cambodia.


  • How Sam Rainsy was twice subjected to politically motivated assassination attempts
  • Sam Rainsy’s relationship, through the years, with Sihanouk
  • How Sam Rainsy and his wife tried to save Western hostages held by the Khmer Rouge in 1994
  • How the merger of the Sam Rainsy Party with the Human Rights Party creates a new political force that can end Hun Sen’s dominance
  • Sam Rainsy’s manifesto for a new Cambodia

About the Author

David Whitehouse is a British journalist in Paris.

What others are saying

"particularly appealing for policy-makers and academics interested in Cambodia, Asia-in-general and democratisation”.—Paul Chambers

Review by Paul Chamber in Asian Affairs: An American Review 

Review by David Chandler in Contemporary Southeast Asia V36/2 Aug 2014

Related files

Information Sheet (Adobe PDF, 532 KB)


Cambodia | Sam Rainsy | Southeast Asia | democracy | human rights | election monitoring | Khmer Rouge

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