VIGIL IN SUPPORT OF VIETNAMESE PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE
Nguyễn Ngọc Bích
Washington, DC - (VanHoaNBLV) - On July 24, a candlelight vigil and hunger strike was held by a number of Vietnamese Americans at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington DC which stands at the corner of New Jersey and Massachusetts Avenues, NW. This was observed as part of the movement "We Are One" in coordination with a worldwide effort to support the Vietnamese prisoners of conscience still lingering in communist jails in Vietnam.
This worldwide coordinated action is done in conjunction with human rights and democracy activists inside Vietnam to show the solidarity of three million plus Vietnamese in the Diaspora together with their friends in all free nations in five continents (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania). That is why Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOCMF), was there to address the group, and so was Christopher Wright of ACAT.
This was our way of saying to our fellow Vietnamese brothers and sisters currently in communist jails in Vietnam, whether they are there for political reasons or because of their religious convictions, that they are not forgotten even as Vietnam may soon become a member of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) with the United States.
Attending the event were many prominent members of the Vietnamese Community in the Washington metropolitan area including Mr. and Mrs. Doan Huu Dinh (he is chairman of the Vietnamese Community of DC-MD-VA), Mr. Nguyen Mau Trinh (chairman of the Vietnamese Senior Citizens Association), Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Bich (chairman of the National Congress of Vietnamese Americans), Dr. Dao Thi Hoi of NCVA, Music Professor Kim Oanh, Professor Yen Nguyen, Ms. Genie Nguyen (president of Voice of Vietnamese Americans), Mrs. Nguyet and Mr. Doan Ngoc An of the Hoa Hao Buddhist Church, Mr. Vo Thanh Nhan and Mr. Vo Ngoc Toan of the Cao Dai Church, Mr. Thomas Pham (chairman of the Vietnamese Community of Maryland), Mr. Nguyen Van Dang (Vietnamese Community of DC-MD-VA), Musician Nguyen Van Thanh and his wife, the beautiful singer Ngoc Thuy, Mrs. Tuyet Ngoc and Mrs. Truc Nuong Brown of the Vietnamese Mothers Group, Mr. Tran Quoc Sy, Mr. Hoang Vi Kha of Viet Toons, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thanh Binh (a poet and novelist), Ms. Jennifer Nguyen (a singer), and Ms. Phan Thuy Lan among others. Of particular note is the presence of ex-prisoner of conscience, Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu, and his wife, Lawyer Duong Ha, who gave a forceful message on behalf of the political prisoners in Vietnam.
Covering the event were reporters from SBTN, VieTV, Radio Free Asia (RFA), and Pho Nho Newspaper.
The event was marked by many songs of solidarity with the prisoners of conscience in Vietnamese communist jails such as Nguyen Duc Quang's "Viet Nam Que Huong Ngao Nghe" and Viet Khang's "Viet Nam Toi Dau?" ("Where Is My Vietnam?") besides Truc Ho's rousing tunes.
Later in the evening several more young people joined the vigil and hunger strike, which was to last until the next morning.
Nguyễn Ngọc BíchJuly 25, 2015