A message to youth

I found this while packing. I was asked to read this at the summer peacekeeping institute in 2008. It’s by Doan Thanh Liem. Seems a message we all need to hear.


Young friends of mine,

Let’s have right thinking

to discover the wonders

in nature and human society

to love everybody

even our enemy.


Young friends of mine,

let’s raise our hearts

to make life more meaningful

let’s pay the high price

to get greatness for our soul.


Young friends of mine,

let’s share the blessings

to all our brothers and sisters

let’s behave accordingly

with our usual manners

among this confusing world.

Young friends of mine,

let’s live fully

by loving totally

and enjoying peace and ecstasy

deep in our inner selves.


Friends stand up!

Friends of mine,

let’s be ready.

It’s now time for us

to launch ourselves into the battle.

We ask for

not only food and clothes

but also dignity and love.

To fight against brutal tyranny

we must all be equipped with

undaunted courage

perseverance, sacrifice

and non-violence.


Friends of mine,

let’s raise out voice

saying that

not anymore we fear

violence, oppression

jail, torture

and terror.

For we have been much mature

in dark cells

with ravaging hunger and thirst

and hard forced labor.

And for also we follow

the perennial teachings of our father

that is: never to power be subdued.


Friends of mine,

let’s continue

the arduous combat

without concession whatsoever.

Resolutely we ask for everybody

with honor and dignity

justice and security

in freedom and democracy

Determined we are to root out

that arrogant sectarianism

insane dogmatism

and nauseating mediocrity.


Friends of mine,

let’s rejoice

at the new chapter

of our beloved fatherland

and indomitable people

that’s rising up

proud and serious

like Phu-Dong Quang Trung

Like Hung Dao Nguyen Trai

Our immortal heroes.

For surely we will overcome

Certainly, we shall overcome.

And also for all time

The humanitarianism cause prevails brutality

And love wipes away hatred.


Ham Tan Camp, 1994