The Importance of Empathy: Walking in Loung Ung’s Footsteps in Cambodia

By Katie Steinharter
They say that at the end of the day, we’re all not that different. I disagree. Life deals us all a different deck, and this changes how we respond. It’s not at the end of the day that we’re all similar—it’s at the beginning.

At the beginning of First They Killed My Father, young Loung Ung sits at lunch with her parents and says, “I’d much rather be playing hopscotch with my friends.” Wouldn’t we all at five years old? Whether in Cambodia or the USA, hopscotch is a lot more fun than “adult time.” When I was a child I used to dread going to our neighbors’ house because I...

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