Domino Effect of a Song
By Jackie Bong-Wright
Similar to the Bouazizi phenomenon that provoked the Tunisia Revolution and the wider Arab Spring that led to the downfall of autocratic regimes in Middle-Eastern countries, Viet Khang, a Vietnamese song-writer, who was detained early 2012 by the Vietnamese Communist government for composing and singing two patriotic songs, incited 125, 000 Vietnamese in the U.S. to sign a petition posted on the White House website asking President Obama to help secure the singer’s release.
In early February, Truc Ho, head of Saigon Broadcasting Television Network in Orange County, California, and a song-writer himself, called on the Vietnamese community to sign a petition to President Obama. Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, Executive Director of BPSOS, took the lead in composing the petition asking the U.S. to stop expanding trade with Vietnam at the expense of human rights, and campaigned for people to sign up. The target of 100,000 signatures was easily met within three weeks.
Waves of peaceful demonstrations and drives of petition-signing by Vietnamese residents throughout the U.S. triggered a domino effect that spread to Canada, Australia, and also Europe. Within ten days, over 25,000 signatures have reached the White House, whose officials offered to meet on March 5 with 100 Vietnamese representatives and discuss human rights issues in Vietnam
The campaign has fueled more signatures from all over the U.S. and other petition-writing every day that goes by. Pham Tran Anh, Chairman of the Vietnamese Political and Religious Prisoner Fellowship Association and a former political prisoner himself, has secured 141 Vietnamese community organizations as well as 17 Buddhist and Christian leaders, to sign another petition calling for the immediate release of all political dissidents and religious prisoners.
Another well-known organization, the Vietnam Human Rights Network, sent in their 2011 53-page Annual Report, detailing 163 documented cases of political and religious detainees currently jailed by the Vietnamese government. They also cited cases of human trafficking and violations of labor rights. They called on the Vietnamese regime to allow the creation of independent unions and abolish state-owned workers’ unions.
Nine Vietnamese organizations in Australia, also wrote to the President and the U.S. Congress asking for the return of illegally confiscated land to the poor farmers and the independent churches. They even raised money to send Bao Khanh, Director, Vietnam Sydney Radio, to report on the May 5 th event. She will join the rally at Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, and interview hundreds of Vietnamese coming from different regions of the U.S. in support of those who were invited to meet inside the White House.
Furhermore, the Vietnamese in the “down- under” country we happy to see that Senator Ron Boswell of theLiberal National party, asks the Vietnamese government for the immediate release of Viet khang. His counterparts in the Vietnam Caucus at the U.S. Congress, Cong. Chris Smith, Barbara Boxer, Loretta Sanchez, and