The Pen is Mightier

Nguyen Hoang Hai, Nguyen Thoung Long, Pham Thanh Nghien, Thich Thien Minh, Tran Anh Kim and Vi Cuc Hoi are among a group of writers who have been awarded the Hellman/Hammett award.

The award was first given in 1989 from the estate of Lillian Hellman, a playwright who wanted “to assist writers in financial need as a result of expressing their views.”

“The Hellman/Hammett financial support aims to help prosecuted writers who may have been dismissed from their jobs or spent time in prison for daring to challenge those in power,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy director at Human Rights Watch.

The Vietnamese writers “have been harassed, assaulted, indicted, jailed on trumped-up charges, dismissed from their jobs, socially isolated, detained and interrogated by police, publicly humiliated in officially orchestrated ‘peoples’ tribunals,’ and injured by officially sanctioned mobs.”

Congratulations to this year’s recipients. Let’s hope the money they are awarded will help end the abuse they are facing, and that they can continue to write and express their views without further persecution.

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