Archive for March, 2012

The Voice and The Vote

Posted in IV. Columns, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by Ian Pham

It’s been a while since we’ve heard of Viet Khang’s whereabouts, no one really knows what happened to him.  What we do know is that he has not been freed by the Communist government.  Whether he is still alive or not is also a big question, one that probably won’t be answered for a while, if ever.  However, that is no reason for us to feel hopeless or discouraged.  Brother Viet Khang knew full well what he was getting into, and I am sure that he did not sacrifice himself just to see us fall into despair.

Through a collection of courageous acts, Viet Khang was able to capture the attention of the entire world.  With the help of Mr. Truc Ho, Viet Khang’s music has shown the world the sad way of life that the Vietnamese people are faced with every single day.  Viet Khang painted the crimes of the Communist Party, making it crystal clear to every Vietnamese across the world.

Before Viet Khang, only a handful young Vietnamese oversees knew about the atrocities committed by the Communist Party.  Now, Vietnamese people across the continents, young and old alike, are now conscious of the dire situation that the Party has put the country into.  As young Vietnamese living oversees, what can we do about it?  As individuals who are shut out from the Communist system, it may feel like we are powerless in dealing with the Communist Party.  This however, is a misconception.

As citizens of a free and democratic country, young adults like yourselves have something that is extremelt valuable.  That gift, my friends, is the right to vote.  As explained very eloquently by Mr. Truc Ho, election season is coming up, and the presidential candidates will do whatever they can to acquire the most votes.  This means that they will be more than happy to appeal to all types of social groups across the country, and as Vietnamese living in America, you too can be a part of this.

It is true that Mr. Truc Ho did not meet the president on his visit to Washington, but the fact remains that he was invited to the White House.  Because of his hard work and genuine dedication, Mr. Truc Ho had captured the attention of the White House.  Besides human rights, there is a very prevalent reason that Truc Ho was invited to Washington.  By rallying nearly 150,000 signatures to his petition, Truc Ho has shown that there is a strong group of potential voters out there.  If there is one thing that a politician loves, it’s the vote.

There are millions of Vietnamese adults living in the U.S., and as American citizens, we all have the vote.  If we show the politicians that we are united, they will listen to what we have to say.  It does not have to be Barack Obama that we are calling upon.  If our voice is strong enough, other candidates will come to us, instead of the other way around.  It is not out of the question for Governor Mitt Romney to throw is support behind us if we are willing to reciprocate with our votes.

Whether it be the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, it could not matter less.  When the presidential candidates realize that there are a million of us, united in our cause, and united in our vote, it will only be a matter of time before they offer their support to us.  Mr. Truc Ho has a very clear vision, and he communicates it very well.  If you want to hear more about this campaign, watch Truc Ho’s SBTN program, for he has much to teach us.

One final word, and this involves all of us.  Whether you are young or old, whether you partake in the democratic process or not (let’s be honest, I know not all of you vote), just be proud of who you are and where you are from.  Before we even exercise our democratic rights, just remember that we are Vietnamese, and that we take pride in our culture and our heritage.  It is undeniable that we are proud of our homeland, whether it be America, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, or anywhere else in the world.  That being said, don’t forget that we are also Vietnamese, our parents are Vietnamese, and our grandparents are Vietnamese.  We must be proud of that as well.  One love.

Truc Ho’s Dedication and the Trip to Washington

Posted in Democracy Activists, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2012 by Ian Pham

This past Monday, Vietnamese musical producer and democracy activist Truc Ho flew to Washington D.C., hoping to meet with the President of the United States.  Mr. Truc has been looking forward to this day, campaigning non-stop over the case of the imprisoned musician Viet Khang.  However, upon his arrival at the White House, Mr. Truc was not greeted by the President, or even a representive on his behalf.  What followed instead were a series of confusing events which many are still trying to understand.

The full details of what happened at the White House is still unclear, the only certainty is that there was miscommunication, on many fronts.  According to sources, Mr. Truc was expected at the White House, but his hosts were unclear on who they were meeting.  The officials at the White House had organized a conference briefing on the leaders of the Vietnamese youth, thinking that Truc Ho was a leader of this group.  When Truc Ho arrived in the conference room, he thought he was in the wrong place.  To his surprise, this room was meant for him.

When it became clear that the White House officials had made a mistake, Truc Ho had to explain to them that he was not a leader of the Vietnamese youth.  He was simply a democracy activist trying to raise the issue of human rights in Vietnam to the U.S. government.  After this disappointing ordeal, Mr. Truc Ho departed from the White House and proceeded outside to his many supporters at the White House entrance.  Many of Truc Ho’s supporters had made the trip to Wasington with him, showing that they are behind him 100%.

In the end, Mr. Truc Ho did not meet President Obama, though he was contacted by the White House at the beginning.  Even so, this event should not be labelled as a failure.  Because of his efforts, Truc Ho was able to spread awareness across the globe about the human rights abuses in Vietnam.  Not only did he capture the attention of the Vietnamese in the United States, but in many other countries all over the world.  In 30 short days, Truc Ho’s petition had achieved 149,050 signatures!  Thanks to him, citizens in America, Canada, Australia, France, and many other nations know of Viet Khang and Vietnam’s desperate need for change.

This struggle for freedom and democracy in Vietnam is not a one step process.  It is long and difficult, with many challenges and obstacles along the way.  The belief that President Barack Obama was going fix all of Vietnam’s problems was simply too good to be true.  Truc Ho may not have met with the President, but his movement was a success.  I commend Mr. Truc Ho, along with his team over at SBTN for all of their hard work.  Thanks to them, the Vietnamese across the world are united.  Not only that, but the people in Vietnam now know we are out there, and that we stand behind them no matter what.  This is not the end, people, this is only the beginning.  Freedom for Vietnam.