The Moment

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Anwar Ibrahim puts on a brave face as he leaves court on the first day of his second sodomy trial

The new trial for sodomy that Anwar Ibrahim faces is also a trial for his country, Malaysia. Anwar contends that the fresh charge is yet another attempt by the authorities to jail and sideline him — he's a former high-flying minister turned opponent of the government. But beyond politics, the case reflects in part a national struggle for identity: in a nutshell, to be a conservative or progressive society. Multiethnic and multiconfessional, Malaysia has the potential to be an enlightening model of harmony amid diversity. Instead, it behaves as if steeped in orthodoxy. One manifestation is that Anwar can be charged...

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