The Freedom Archives contains many materials on the Vietnam liberation struggle, the antiwar movement, and the worldwide impact of the Vietnam’s defeat of US imperialism. Fifty years ago, in July 1972, the Union of Vietnamese in the U.S. was formed, shortly after the murder of Nguyen Thai Binh, a Vietnamese student who came to study in the United States during the U.S. war against his homeland.  Increasingly articulate and active in antiwar protests, following his graduation from the University of Washington the US government cancelled his visa. He attempted to divert an airliner to Hanoi to call attention to his people’s cause but was brutally shot and killed. He was known as a sincere and committed idealist with a gentle personality and love of children.  His name, Thai Binh, means peace, sometimes translated as “peace won through struggle.”

As producers of the programs now in the Archives, we put representatives of the Union on the air at KPFA, assisted with a memorial for Thai Binh in San Francisco, and helped with a number of cultural programs.  We treasure the friendship and solidarity.

The Union also worked with Peoples Press in San Francisco to publish a book of poetry in Vietnamese and English. The book is contained within the new Freedom Archives building in Berkeley and there are many illustrations inside interspersed with the poems.  The closing poem, “Legacy,” by Nguyen Thai Binh includes these lines:

All must be for the homeland
Today with respect I give it gratitude
And committing myself to the end
I resolve to march forward.

Another poem, “Mother My Heart” by Tran Quang Long, ends:

… Mother, I know
My heart is poetry
My heart is forest, is mountain
Is rice, is corn
Is orange, is grapefruit
Is the past, is the future
Is misery, is happiness
Is the struggle, is the resilience
My heart belongs to the people
Who dare write their history on earth
With their own blood.
Memorial to Nguyen Thai Binh by Lincoln Bergman (originally written 1972)
My name
Is Thai Binh
In Vietnamese
Thai Binh
Means Peace
My parents
Gave me that name
To express
The deepest aspiration
Of our heroic nation
People of the World
My name
Is Thai Binh
Though I may die
We shall win
People of the World
Take aim
Raise the flag of liberation
Red blue yellow
Candle flame
Thai Bihn Flyer