Wednesday, November 19, 2008



Nguyen Huu Loan:
"Bloody Paradise"

Poet Huu Loan was born on April 2, 1916 in Nga Son, Thanh Hoa province. He is also known under the pen-names Phuong Huu and Huu Sinh. Starting as a French teacher in 1939, he later joined the resistance movement and was part of the force taking over power in Thanh Hoa province in August 1945. From 1946 to 1951, he was assigned to the editorship of the Chien Si Quan Khu Tu (Military Zone 4 Soldiers) magazine in the Hue City area. It was here he met General Nguyen Son, another fervent supporter of artistic freedom for all writers and artists. After the war against the French, Nguyen Huu Loan was assigned to the educational and training function of four different agencies: Education, Information, Civil Construction, and Commerce.

He is also the author of many renowned poetry collections, including Mau Tim Hoa Sim (The Purple of Berry Flowers), Deo Ca (Mountain Pass Ca), Lon Song (Upside Down). Nguyen Huu Loan's misfortune began when he led the groups of writers and poets Nhan Van (Humanity) and Dat Moi (New Land) in unveiling Party and government corruption and crimes against their own citizens. As a result, Nguyen Huu Loan and most members of these writers groups were condemned to forced labor in the "New Economic Zones" for decades. Refusing to give in to brutality, Nguyen Huu Loan continued to record the sufferings of people under the communist regime in poems committed to memory during his prison time. These poems were later written down in the "Bloody Paradise" collection upon his release. This work soon found its way out of the country in 1991. The "Bloody Paradise" was selected to receive the 1994 Vietnam National Day Literature and Arts Award from overseas Vietnamese.
In his 1956 "Those Flatterers Again" poem, he wrote:

"In the People's Republic
The flatterers roam free
Without big suits
But with big mouths
Mouths that fear no stenches
They take hold of the pipe
Wholeheartedly blow up their superiors
Yes, yes, Sir, Sir
They repeatedly kiss up
And praise the fragrance"
As for the communist rulers, he provided the following description in his "Legend of Man, Buffalo, and Horse" :

"These evil warlords
dictatorial and totalitarian
They grow roots from their bottoms
and octopus tentacles from their foreheads
They embrace over and over and over
the throne like a prey
and hand it down to their children
The dictatorial warlords
they look so much alike
And like leeches
they don't let go"

He was critically critical of himself and other intellectuals like him:

"Despite your being buffaloes and horses
In the face of injustice
How could you be so mute"
In the "Bloody Paradise," he called on the world's conscience to stop inadvertently strengthening the oppressive hands of the regime:

"Dear conscience of heavenly goodness
of logic
and of holy wish to save lives


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