- By Benjamin SolowayBenjamin Soloway is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy. He worked previously in Indonesia as a web editor and Princeton in Asia journalism fellow at the Jakarta Globe. He has also lived in Brazil and Turkey. His work has been published in the Boston Globe, the New Republic, USA Today, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. He studied history at Wesleyan University.
Heads of state tend to use social media to proliferate flattering images of themselves. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen — who is obsessed with Facebook, if the frequency of posts to his account is any indicator, and who almost certainly purchased many of his followers from click farms — violated that axiom Monday in an eccentric Ramadan greeting that included three photos of him wading in the ocean wearing a sodden white tank top.
“I want to show that our country is peaceful everywhere, and leaders can travel to work or recreation without fear of terrorist attack,” he wrote beneath the photos. “Greetings fellow countrymen, especially Muslims, on the first day of Ramadan.”
Almost all Cambodians are Buddhist, but some 1.9 percent of the country’s population of 15.7 million is Muslim. Many Cambodian Muslims belong to the Cham ethnic group, which the Khmer Rouge persecuted heavily until it fell in 1979.
Photo credits: Hun Sen/Facebook