Letters of love for Christmas 1
(Since Christmas is the season of love, I am sharing with our readers two letters of love appropriate for the yuletide season. Neither letter is about love between a man and a woman, but they talk about love – nonetheless. The first is a letter from a daughter to his father, Dieu Cay, a Vietnamese blogger who is currently in jail after being convicted for being an “enemy of the state”. As we read this letter, let’s remember that until today, a Filipino child may still be writing a similar letter to his or her parent.)
It has been a long time since we last talked; it has been forever since I last saw you. The past six years feel like a decade because time seems to go so slowly. Every day we are waiting for you to return. Mom, brother, sister and I are missing you very much.
I remember your pictures. You love to travel the country and take many pictures of the scenery. In my memories I only see buildings, traffic, pollution and busy days at school. In your pictures I see wild mountains, sandy beaches, fruit trees and beautiful rivers. We know you love photography, and I know it is because you love to capture the beauty of everything. You gave us so many memories to keep and to reminisce. I don’t think many of my friends my age have many photos of
them as kids to look at. But you captured all of that for your children. In your pictures we see the love that you have for your country and its people.
You have always been an honest, gentle, kind-hearted man, and you trust everybody to the point that life has become much more difficult for you. I have seen many people, including friends and neighbors, who took advantage of you. But along the way you have gained so many more friends with your kindness and your never-failing honesty.
What you have endured all this time really breaks our hearts. This is the price you have to pay for your love? This is Unfair! This is Injustice!
I was naive to think that maybe things will be okay after the first two years they took you. I thought we would have you back in our arms again. I was looking forward to the day I get to see a picture of you again. I bought you a pair of new shoes so you could wear them to travel because I know you have worn out your last. But you did not return. They kept you for so much longer. That was when I realized things are worse than I thought. Justice will never have its day in our country.
And time stretches its legs, one heavy step at a time. You don’t know how many beats our hearts have skipped when we heard news about you or the trial, many worrisome days when we didn’t know where and how you were. I had many dreams about you, and many nightmares. I am angry at
the many hardships mother, brother and sister have to go through, yet I know it is nothing compares to what you have endured, and that makes me even angrier. It doesn’t feel good to live in anger but I can’t help it when there is no justice where you are.
We were all holding our breath before the trial. There were many people who wanted to come to the trial to support you. You may have heard what has happened to them, the violence and nonsense action that they took upon everyone. Nothing compares to what they did to you. After all of the beating, arresting, terrorizing, heartache and tears, after all of the unspeakable things, the result of the “show” was as expected. The clowns of terror always get their way, one of them even
said “F*** freedom”.
Just a few days ago I saw your image for the first time after many years. You look much older and weaker. I saw how they put their hands on you when you tried to speak. I heard they didn’t give you your glasses to read or write, they didn’t give you food until it was rotten. It’s hard to live thinking about my father like that. I know you were already very weak before prison, I don’t know how you cope being in there. Sister said she got to meet you for nine minutes after five years and she was afraid she would never see you again. We are all living in fear.
I know they are trying to dehumanize us but I know you are strong. You are our hero. We miss you and love you very much. I want to see you again one day, father. A few very rare dreams of mine: you came back to us and I was so happy I just followed you everywhere you went (like when I
was little) because I didn’t want you to get taken away again.
I know you have big dreams; they are simple, really, but in this situation it seems as if they are big dreams. Your dream is to help the helpless, the powerless to have their life the way it’s supposed
to be, life of a human being, able to survive in their own country. My dream is also simple but in this situation it is a big dream. My dream is to have our family safe, in peace and I can do my duty as a child taking care of my parents. I don’t have much ambition, I only want a normal life which you worked hard to give me but I want to have you all in it.
You must stay strong. Brother has inherited bravery from you. He is a very grown up man. We are all proud of him although I feel guilty that he didn’t have his youth the way he should have. And he will keep our family strong. We pray and hope for the best. We have help from many
friends and we thank the miracle that brought them to us. We will continue to fight with you and for you.
I have learned to never take anything for granted and appreciate the beauty of life like the moment a snowflake fall on my hand. And I want so much for you and our family to have that peaceful moment one day. I am waiting for the day I get to hug you again and our last hug 6 years ago would not be the last. And you will have a camera in your hands again and the beautiful moments will be captured forever.
I love you.