Channy Laux, 60, is the granddaughter of a refugee from communist China who fled to Cambodia. She was 13 when the communist Khmer Rouge, which would eventually kill almost 2 million people, took over Cambodia in 1975. Her father and brother were shot trying to escape to Thailand through the jungle. Laux was sent to a reeducation camp and was tortured, raped and starved. She eventually reached the United States as a refugee with no English skills, studied to be an engineer, wrote a memoir, and now runs a Cambodian restaurant and food business in San Jose. “If you think that capitalism is bad,” she says, “wait until you live under communism.”
Today, Laux is a volunteer speaker affiliated with the Victims of Communism Museum, which opened in June in downtown D.C. The modest-size museum is housed in an office building once owned by the anti-communist United Mine Workers of America. It is run by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation — established by bipartisan legislation signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 — and relies on donations, not tax dollars. Focused mostly on 20th-century atrocities, the museum details the evolution of communism from Marx to Soviet Russia to other governments around the world, estimating that communist regimes inflicted 100 million deaths worldwide, including lives claimed by executions and famine.
The years ahead are great ones for this country, for the cause of freedom and the spread of civilization. The West won’t contain communism, it will transcend communism. It won’t bother to dismiss or denounce it, it will dismiss it as some bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.