439F8 Phan Van Tri St, Ward 5,
Govap District, HCM City, Vietnam
29 November, 2011
His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500, USA
My name is Tran Van Huynh, a Vietnamese living in HCM city, Vietnam.
First, I’d like to express my appreciation of your consideration for the Asia Pacific region. I am especially moved and fired by the statement you made at the Australian Parliament on 17 November this year: ”I’d like to address the larger purpose of my visit to this region – our efforts to advance security, prosperity and human dignity across the Asia Pacific”.
I write this letter to seek further attention from you on human right issues in order to gain enough recognition from the mass of the world, that embracing, upholding and acting for the inalienable rights of human beings is the strategic solution for the universal peace. I got this notion from your 2009 Nobel prize speech in which you said: ”Only a just peace based upon the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting”, and ”If human rights are not protected, peace is a hollow promise”.
That notion has grown into an enduring conviction of mine due to the enduring efforts of my son for human rights and world peace. He is Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, known as Tran Dong Chan , a well-known blogger. Being jailed, he still wrote a Petition to the Vietnamese People and State in last August, calling for building the ”CHARTER OF THE RENAISSANCE OF VIETNAM FOR THE PEACE OF THE WORLD”. He appeals to the authority to assure the fundamental rights of the people as protected by the Vietnam’s Constitution in reality. This will help them to surpass fear and reach self-confidence, which is the most crucial factor to cultivate a real democracy. My son believes that only such a democracy can sustainably develop the society to equality, prosperity and civilization.
He also petitions the Vietnamese to choose self-confidence over fear so as to consequently have real democracy over brute tyranny, so equality over corruption, prosperity over poverty, and then civilization over backwardness. I have been convinced that this is the evolution conforming to the objective principles of nature, and that human rights are the category of the universal viewpoint, not of the human point of view. Therefore these rights are never changeable no matter what factor belongs to humans, such as sex, birth, race, color, state, ideology, stage of development, geography, class, etc… Human rights are attributed by The Creator, so are all the universal things’ essence. Not any human strength is able to change these attributes. Brute force may deprive people of their human rights but can not stop their aspiration toward those rights. It is like man who may stem water flow but can not change the water attribute which always flows toward hollows.
My son has also justified that only a real democracy based upon human rights can sustain peace together with wealth for the world. Otherwise, the armed conflict – which he calls ”non-democratic catastrophe” – is inevitable.
From 2008, he discerned the Vietnam’s East sea containing the threats like this. In his blog entry named ”Obama, China and Vietnam” broadcasted in March 2009, after analyzing the perils against the world’s stability he wrote: ”Finding the strategies to avoid this as well as to have the sustainable peace and growth for the people around the world is really imperative now”.
It was this imperative that had gotten him and his friends, Le Thang Long, Le Cong Dinh and Nguyen Tien Trung to throw themselves into the life of activists for human rights, for the peace of the world. They joined to compose the book named ”The Path of Vietnam” to recommend the strategies for our country’s authority, in order to overcome the threat of economic collapse. The pivot of these strategies is to respect and uphold the human rights because they trust that those will not only help the country to gain more economic powers but also to build a real and strong democracy. So this would consequently urge to democratize other neighbors. And only then can the world peace lovers install the efficient institutions to prevent wars. They want Vietnam to pioneer and play a strategic role like this.
Unfortunately, they had been jailed because of such activities, and sentenced to 31 years and a half in prison. They were alleged to use ”peaceful evolution” and ”non-violence” to topple the regime. Despite of his 16-year sentence, my son still strives for justice, dignity and peace. When I visited him in the prison in last October, he recommended me to do something for peace. He attributed that the more people acknowledge the threats against peace and its genesis, the more democratic and prosperous the world becomes. I myself see those threats appearing clearer than ever. When such a subject is punished because of ”non-violence” and ”peaceful evolution”, it is the time that riot and war are encouraged.
My son has made me thoroughly understand how we all have a stake in one another in today globalized world. If we want dignity, prosperity and peace we must do them for the others. I have found such policies from you for long. And I do trust in your goodwill, in the statement you made in your inaugural address to all people and governments: ”Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.”
I do really need such a friend like this for now and ever. So do many other Vietnamese , I think. I wish this friend would make more world citizens discernible that human rights are essential and indispensable to create dignity, prosperity, peace and civilization for themselves and for the human kind, and that self-confidence is the most sterling asset of every individual and it helps earn him or her human rights together with democracy, equality and wealth.
I wish the friend would always be not only a voice for such above aspirations but also a fellow traveller on the way to the world where that yearning becomes truth. On that way, for every slipped one there is another one who would bolster him or her and go on to the end. I believe that the force of this friend is for peace, not for conflict and I wish he would spare no efforts to steadily harbor that faith in everyone.
That’s the sublime faith that I always believe. It’s like a benign seed sown inside everyone to grow into an everlasting green lea of peace, love, humaneness,… I think it is also the sublime faith that the great President Abraham Lincoln eternally keeps in his heart and mind. It was the faith that has led him to the great achievement of abolition of slavery.
I write this letter by my son but not only for him. It is for all men and women, known or obscure, arrested or free, every where in the world, who have striven decades from now for a society of freedom from fear and freedom from want in order to build a world of dignity, peace and prosperity. They deserve to be honorable world citizens who live by the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that appeals every individual among the Member States to strive to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance of respect for these rights and freedom by progressive measures, national and international, toward the United Nations’ mission of peace.
I have faithfully tried all nationally able resorts but no result. So this letter is considered as my international effort.
I hope our friend can awake the repressive regimes around the world that accession of the International Covenants on Political and Civil rights, and on Economic, Social and Cultural rights is not trappings; and that: ”it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by law”(*) and implemented de facto.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Tran Van Huynh
(*) quote from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights