Mission Freedom Vietnam

Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for righteousness, for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6)

Alright folks. Recently some people – including readers of this blog – have expressed their desire to help Vietnam. Some friends, family members and even colleagues became outraged and fumed with anger when I explained to them the plight of the Vietnamese people in Vietnam. I don’t know what’s the cause of the surge in people becoming concerned with Vietnam’s affairs and why all of a sudden they have a tone of urgency in their voice, but the suffering of the Vietnamese people under the government of Vietnam has been going on for decades.

Perhaps it’s because the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) just published an article about Vo Minh Tri (Viet Khang) and Tran Vu Anh Binh’s trial today:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2012/10/31/vietnam-singers-jailed.html

Or perhaps they felt compassion for a young Vietnamese highschool girl who wrote a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pleading them to prevent China from invading Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Paracel Island and Spratly Island):

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-620907

Or perhaps they feel they are the successor to the late Nguyen Chi Thien:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/arts/nguyen-chi-thien-vietnamese-dissident-poet-dies-at-73.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Or perhaps something more simple and fundamental: They have a conscience, and so can YOU.

Folks, I thank you for your support and for joining me as we raise our voices for those who are silenced and we lend our hearts to those who need love. I am Catholic and every Sunday since I was born voices from the pulpit always preached to me about loving my neighbours, the oppressed, the forgotten, the marginalized, the underprivileged. “Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for righteousness”, says Jesus, “for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

Well, life is not worth living if I only live for myself. Life becomes worthwhile once it is lived for others. So as we continue this arduous journey, I echo the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II: Do not be afraid! Rise, let us be on our way.

Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty Images

“you have to humanize the world we live in, in the way that today’s Reading from Isaiah indicates: “loose the bonds of injustice … share your bread with the hungry … remove the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil…. Then your light shall rise in the darkness” (Is 58,6-10)…Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope, the young are our hope” Blessed Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day 2002 Toronto

Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid!

– Nhat (edited by Thuy)

The “Crime” of Patriotism

In the Vietnamese activist community, surely we all know of and admire Viet Khang (Vo Minh Tri), the Vietnamese singer-songwriter who has been imprisoned since December of 2011 for writing passionate and patriotic songs of pure love for his country–songs which encouraged his people to stand up and defend their country from the Chinese invasion of Vietnam, and subtly denounced the communist governments of Vietnam and China for their heartlessness and dealing off Vietnamese lands such as our historic islands Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.

This April 30th, which marks the 37th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, I am sure the Vietnamese diaspora all around the world will be thinking of Viet Khang and his fellow detained activists who, like all Vietnamese citizens, are suffering at the hands of the communist government. We will honour their determination, their courage, and their profound sense of justice and duty towards their homeland. We will show them our unwavering support. There is no crime in loving your country, in wishing to protect and preserve its existence, in fighting for the justice, freedom and human rights that its people have long been denied.

Viet Nam Toi Dau – Viet Khang

Minh-Thùy

Giấc Mơ Ngư Dân

“Hoàng Sa trời nước mênh mông; người đi thì có, mà không thấy về…”

Trong phim tài liệu “Hoàng Sa Việt Nam: Nỗi đau mất mát – La Meurtrissure-Painful Loss” của ông André Menras-Hồ Cương Quyết, có một đoạn phim đã để lại trong chúng tôi một ấn tượng rất sâu xa. Có một cô bé tâm sự về cảm xúc mất Bố:

“Lúc mà ngày con biết Bố mất thì cũng là ngày con đau và rất là xót xa. Thì con cũng không tin được là mình mất Bố. Và hiện nay thì con rất nhớ và rất nhớ Bố con, và con rất muốn là Bố con trở về, nhưng con biết đó chỉ là giắc mơ mà thôi, vì sự thật là Bố con đã mất tại nơi Hoàng Sa. Và hiện giờ thì trong những giấc mơ thì con cũng mong là Bố sẽ trở về để con quên đi nỗi đau mất Bố, nhưng thật ra thì suống từ ngày hôm Bố mất thì con vẫn mãi không được nhìn Bố, bởi vì con cách xa ba tháng thì những người khác thì tuy cũng mất người thân nhưng họ trước khi mất thì họ còn nhìn lần cuối còn riêng con thì con không được nhìn lần cuối.”

Người ngư dân sống một cuộc sống rất đơn sơ. Họ lăn lộn cuộc sống để có vài bữa cơm và vài miếng cá. Họ không đòi hỏi về những vật chất, không cần những điều cao lương mỹ vị. Họ sống với thiên nhiên: mặt trời mọc là còi báo thức; mặt trời lặn cho ta gió chiều với tiéng ru của biển. Gió chiều nhẹ, và biển khơi ru ta vào giấc ngủ ngư dân.

Những giấc mơ ngư dân, như giấc mơ cô bé, chỉ ước mong là sẽ được gặp lại người thân yêu của mình. Vì thế, giấc mơ ngư dân cũng là những giấc mơ của mỗi một người đã phải cách xa Quê Hương ngàn dặm ra đi, và mong là một ngày nào đó sẽ có cơ hội trở về Quê Hương để đón Xuân với những tiếng pháo tự do.

Chúng ta phải tiếp tục đốt cháy những ngọn lửa tự do để thắp lên ánh sáng và hy vọng cho Quê Hương.

(Để biết thêm thông tin, xin quý vị đến link này: http://www.eyedrd.org/2011/11/documentary-movie-hoang-sa-việt-nam-nỗi-dau-mất-mat-la-meurtrissure-painful-loss-was-banned.html)

– Minh-Thùy & Anh Nhật

Hoang Sa Noi Dau Mat Mat (Andre Menras)

I would like to share with you an eye-opening film by French director Andre Menras, called “Hoàng Sa Việt Nam: Nỗi đau mất mát (La Meurtrissure – Painful Loss).”

“Hoàng Sa trời nước mênh mông. Người đi thì có mà không thấy về.”

En français:

I can no longer find the full version in Vietnamese or English online. However, you can watch more videos on Hoang Sa at the following YouTube channel:

Andre Menras

Enjoy.

Minh-Thùy

HS.TS.VN

18-09-2010 Fundraising for Democracy Activists in Vietnam

September 18, 2010: Fundraising for Democracy Activists in Vietnam – Tiệc Gây Qũy Yểm Trợ Phong Trào Dân Chủ Cho Việt Nam

Last Saturday evening at the Royal Dragon Restaurant in Mississauga, our Vietnamese-Canadian community came together to organize and support a charity dinner in order to raise funds for democracy activists in Vietnam. These righteous, brave, and outspoken activists have been and continue to play a crucial part in supporting the movement for freedom, democracy, and human rights in Vietnam, all of which are virtually non-existent and ever overshadowed by the corrupt communist government and their unjust ideals. From where we are, in any way possible, we must give them our full support!

We also had honoured guests who made the trip from the United States to contribute their support. Mr. Đỗ Thành Công, a former political prisoner and democracy activist who was unjustly imprisoned by the Vietnamese communist government, was one such guest in attendance at the charity. He gave a rousing powerpoint presentation detailing his knowledge of critical issues that Vietnam is and will soon be facing due to the incompetence and corruption in the country and especially within the governing party. Mr. Đỗ Thành Công and three of his party members were arrested in August of 2006. He himself was arrested and subsequently deported. Lê Nguyên Sang, a member of the People’s Democratic Party of Vietnam (Đảng Dân Chủ Nhân Dân) served 4 years in prison for violating article 88 of the criminal code, which forbids “conducting propaganda against the state.” They were released recently in 2009 and 2010. However, the irony is that these prisoners have never actually posed a direct threat; they simply spoke aloud their mind, and their words did not agree with the government–hence they were imprisoned without just reason or cause.

Concern is ever growing. The amount of jail sentences for political prisoners in Vietnam totals to about 187 years, and that is only from what we do know at this point. Dozens of independent bloggers and democracy activists like Ms. Phạm Thanh Nghiên, Ms. Trần Khải Thanh Thủy, and Ms. Lê Thị Công Nhân, just to name a few well-known activists, have been arrested (in some cases also beaten) in Vietnam and no doubt we will see more of such injustice to come if we sit idly and do nothing to stop it.

Furthermore, the Vietnamese government has been relying on communist China for “protection,” yielding its lands to the threatening and rising superpower to the North–lands such as Hòang Sa and Trường Sa, Vietnam’s Paracel and Spratly Islands, an act that has caused an uproar from Vietnamese around the globe and even within the usually suppressed country. The Vietnam-China border continues to move, wherein China expands their territory while Vietnam is losing more land. By buying the “protection” of a similarly communistic country, the Vietnamese communist party ensures that they will remain in absolute power. Vietnam has proudly upheld its own for thousands of years, and to let this happen is not only an outrage, but I feel like it is a tragedy, as well.

I managed to learn a lot on Saturday between the stress of performing and the awesome fun we had dancing. I couldn’t catch all of Mr. Đỗ Thành Công’s presentation, though he covered a lot of very serious and note-worthy aspects and what I do remember I have already written about here. I am so glad to have the opportunity to not only attend but also be of help to the organizers. After every successful event, I get that awesome feeling of gratefulness that I am able to be a part of an amazing community and know the most inspiring people whom I love enough to call family. 😀

P.S. Check out the links I’ve put up on the left of my page, too. I just added the link to “VietAm Review.” The blog is in English and contains some very interesting politically-charged articles. 🙂

Thanks for reading!