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Burning Truth

By Linh Dinh – 1/31/11

Vietnam rarely makes the news these days, but there was a recent item about a journalist who died after being doused in his sleep with a chemical, then set on fire. The BBC implied that he may have been retaliated against for reporting on official misconduct.

Investigating corruption and abuse of power, Hoang Hung made plenty of enemies in high places. His best known article is about how officials in Long An, after receiving bribes from developers, kicked hundreds of farmers off their lands to make way for golf courses. After his death, a colleague quoted Hoang Hung, “We’re soldiers on the media battlefield. We must dare to speak the truth, dare to fight for social justice in spite of harassment from many quarters.” Fifty years old at his death, Hoang Hung was too young to participate in the Vietnam War. His father, however, was a Vietcong who died in battle.

The Vietnamese Communists won the war so they could eventually open the country to Capitalist sweat shops and golf courses. No wonder Hoang Hung was pissed. To make room for a rich man’s game, hundreds of Vietnamese became landless. Though Vietnam is smaller than California, it has more than twice the population. The deltas and coastline are packed with people. There, even a lawn is an alien concept, and as popular as soccer is, there are few grass fields. Vietnamese grow rice and vegetables, not grass. The last thing Vietnam needs is golf courses, but of course they aren’t built for the locals.

According to George Carlin, America doesn’t need these vast, high maintenance fields either. From a 1992 skit, “It is time to reclaim the golf courses from the wealthy and turn them over to the homeless […] Think of how big a golf course is. The ball is that fucking big! What do these pinheaded pricks need with all that land? There are over 17,000 golf courses in America. They average over 150 acres apiece. That’s 3 million plus acres, 4,820 square miles. You could build two Rhode Islands and a Delaware for the homeless on the land currently being wasted on this meaningless, mindless, arrogant, elitist, racist […] and a boring game.”

In any case, whoever killed Hoang Hung was a pro. The assassin knew that he tended to work late and often slept in his second floor home office. Waiting until the lights were out, the killer managed to climb onto the balcony without being detected just after midnight. He then entered the darkened room where his target was sound asleep inside the mosquito netting. After the attack, there were photos published in the Vietnamese press of the scorched bed and the near-naked victim lying in the hospital, where he suffered for ten days before dying. Make no mistake about this: Hoang Hung was killed as a warning to other journalists. Make too much noise and you will be roasted alive like this man.

In the 60’s, South Vietnamese monks immolated themselves to protest against the government. Their action was effective because it was a horrendous spectacle. It was visual. At the same time, South Vietnam’s best novelist, Nhat Linh, also committed suicide in protest, but he did it by ingesting poison in private. Whereas the image of a burning monk has become iconic, Nhat Linh’s death caused no international ripple whatsoever. It wasn’t visual. There is nothing to show.

Everywhere now, not least America, writers are becoming more invisible by the day, in any case. With so much mass media all the time, it would not matter if an American writer became a living torch in Times Square. They’d just hose his ashes into the gutter and point the camera at the naked cowboy. The Vietnamese Communists have also figured out that serious writers are mostly irrelevant in this cultural climate. They used to lock up poets—one, Nguyen Chi Thien, was imprisoned for a total of twenty-seven years—but now they pretty much leave poets alone. Though many are still blocked from publishing, poets are no longer jailed. To imprison a poet is to shine a spotlight on him. No one pays attention to poets anyway, no matter what they write. From the perspective of tyranny, it would be foolish to flesh out this nothingness.

Journalists, however, are a different story. They can still reach the masses. America has solved this problem by consolidating her media outlets. With countless newspapers and TV stations, there seems to be many voices speaking, but nearly all are manipulated by the same puppet master. As everyone sits in the dark, the spotlight is fixed on a tiny ring where there’s much flailing over next to nothing. Should anyone still manage to get out of line, however, America can always snuff him out, just like the Vietnamese did. Invading Iraq, we bombed the office of Al Jazeera and shelled the Palestine Hotel, killing three journalists. We also arrested Al Jazeerra’s al Sami al-Hajj and kept him in Guantanamo for six years without charge. In 2005, an American tank shot at a car carrying Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, injuring her and killing intel agent, Nicola Calipari.

On the American fringe, independent voices are free to write as they please, but even the best among them can only appear in little read webzines. Many write almost exclusively on their own blogs. Needless to say, they have almost no impact on the general public. In too late late capitalism, those who seek to tell the truth don’t need to be burnt. They are already being drown out by nonsense.

January 31, 2011 - Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes

3 Comments »

  1. They are already being drown out by nonsense. {in other words, mocked and scorned}

    How true, how true. At least they try. If we ‘knew’ why and how earth came to be created, those who love Truth, would never worry about this life.These were brave men/women, who were silenced by the current rulers of hell. Even tho they slay me, yet shall I live.
    Since I know who I was in Heaven, and am the same down here in hell, as we all are, it never ceases to amaze me, how many evil things just love to be evil. They fear TRUTH most of all.. we have access to many websites, this one on the top of the list, who are fearless. The battle in the Spiritual world is much more violent, brutal, and unbelievable than the physical world. And yet, they can never kill the spirit, only the body. If it were up to me, and not God, I would much prefer death, to be with Him back in Heaven, but that is not my mission. Viet Nam was raped and pillaged as so many other nations on earth by the elitists. Only God can bring them to justice. Those who think this isn’t the site to discuss God, just don’t realize WHO HE IS. Or maybe they do. ??

    Comment by Joyce/No lies | January 31, 2011 | Reply

    • God is just another construct of the power elite to control the masses. It is WE who must bring these people to justice.

      Comment by zulu127 | February 1, 2011 | Reply

  2. Oh really????? What have you/we done the last 30 years (we are speaking of only Egypt, how many NATIONS have been CRUSHED that you have helped bring to Justice…get REAL, to help these people with all their repressions???? Humans don’t even KNOW God… He hasn’t interferred with this freakin evil ruler/satan until now… Give me some examples where the people have brough JUSTICE to governments, and I MIGHT ( but likely NOT) give your remarks some respect. People who say they can do something usually refer to being a little ‘god’ unto themselves.. like satan/lucifer in heaven… you can see HE’S on road to hell after all the evil mischief you guys have WREAKED on earth/hell…

    Comment by Joyce/No lies | February 2, 2011 | Reply


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