Doan Thanh Liem – Poems from Prison – 1

Friends, Stand Up

Friends of mine, be ready
It’s now time for us
To openly and directly
Launch ourselves into the battle
We ask for
Not only food and clothes
But also Dignity and Love.
Against the Brutal Tyranny
We fight, equipped with
Undaunted Courage
Perseverance, Sacrifice
And Non-Violence.

Friends of mine, let’s raise our voice
Saying that
Not any longer we fear
Violence, Oppression
Jail, Torture
And Terror.
For we’ve grown more mature
In dark cells
In ravaging hunger and thirst
And in forced labor.
And also for we follow
The perennial teaching of our Fathers
That’s ‘Never to power be subdued!’

Friends of mine, let’s continue
The arduous combat
Without any concession whatever
Resolutely we claim for everyone else
The right to live as A Human Being
With Dignity and Honor
Justice and Security
In Freedom and Democracy
Determined we are to root out
That arrogant monopoly
Unscrupulous sectarianism
Insane dogmatism
And nauseating mediocrity.

Friends of mine, let’s rejoice
At the new chapter
Of our beloved Fatherland
And our Indomitable People
That’s rising up
Proud and fierce
Like Phù Đổng, Quang Trung
Hưng Đạo, Nguyễn Trãi
Our Immortal Heroes
For surely we shall overcome,
Certainly we shall overcome
And also for all the times
The Humanitarian Cause
Wins over Brutality
And Love wipes away

NOTE: Published with the kind permission of the author.

Doan Thanh Liem is a Vietnamese constitutional law scholar. In 1992, he was sentenced in a secret trial to 12 years of imprisonment for “anti-socialist propaganda.” Doan Thanh Liem was released in 1996 and allowed to emigrate to the US with his family. George McGovern and many congressmen wrote letters to Hanoi on his behalf, and one petition was signed by Ed Asner, Daniel Berrigan, Noam Chomsky, Jane Fonda, Frances FitzGerald, Tom Hayden, Seymour Hersh, Ron Kovic, David Rabe, Oliver Stone and Cora Weiss.
(Source, HERE.)


Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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