To the Editor…

by on December 9, 2013


RE. “Nelson Mandela, Inspiration for Millions Around the World, Dies At 95” By Randy Shaw (BeyondChron, December 6, 2013):

We mourn the passing of a great human being, Nelson Mandela, whose work, philosophy, and teachings will be etched deeply in our minds and hearts, and who will live in history forever.

Nelson Mandela also reminds me of my own father, Le Van Vien. During the French colonial period in Viet Nam, my father was captured by the French and imprisoned for two years. He was imprisoned simply because he was a Vietnamese human being, and also one who was well educated. During my father’s imprisonment, he was tortured, interrogated, and beaten by the French guards. The torture methods the French employed against my father included applying electricity to his body, his gonads and genitals.

The French government passed a law on February 23, 2005 requiring that teachers and school textbooks teach “the positive values of French colonialism,” an effort to “sanitize” and justify colonialism.

How antithetical to Nelson Mandela’s own accomplishment of founding and establishing the work of “Truth and Reconciliation” in South Africa, a philosophy, principle, and model which has been carried to other places as well.

As Nelson Mandela stated, “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter. I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my walk is not ended.”

As with Nelson Mandela’s teachings, this is what my father, Le Van Vien, also taught me, and which I have taught my son, Minh Jeffrey Le.

Nelson Mandela’s teachings will live in our hearts and minds forever.

Anh Le
San Francisco

Filed under: Letters to the Editor