The Internet and email make us read.
Writers widely published in the print media and on the Internet have a complaint sometimes about their readers. The writers sometimes get great "Thank You" email or Internet postings from readers and enthusiasts and activists.
But not always. Sometimes the critic believes he is just exercising his right to freedom of speech. But we feel that freedom of speeach must be self modualated, respectful and thoughtful.
Unvarnished personal attacks gain us nothing but enemies.
Sometimes writers get ugly messages, personal attacks and even death threats. I, for one, will fight againt those that dish up the vulger, hateful or otherwise offensive language.
Yesterday I got one: a message that riled me up. My wife too.
Although we generally have a policy of embracing the positive and ignoring the negative, for some reason we responded to this writer.
A communist university student in London, U.K. wrote to call me "biased," a "foreigner" and a person that "knows nothing about Vietnam." He also accused me of supporting, in fact applauding, a group he called a "terrorist" organization.
Well I draw the line at being called a terrorist, a Nazi or a racist. There are probably other labels I'll react to but those are the first that come to mind.
I tend to never use the word "foreigner." We find that word divisive. We do like words like "brother," "pal," "friend" and "ally."
As for bias: aren't we all members of a thinking species that has ideas and views? If I find a person without bias I usually am looking at a mindless person. I for one, love my wife and I am biased in her direction.
I do not like being lumped in with terrorists. My major complaint with terrorists and terrorism is this: they and it are an affront to human life.
Anyone who thinks strapping on a bomb and then blowing it up to kill himself or herself and others does not understand the dignity of human life.
Human life is God's greatest creation. It is not to be destroyed or toyed with by we mere humans. Human life is a gift from God and he owns the copyright (I am a writer, after all).
And finally, this gentleman said I "knew nothing of Vietnam." Well to this I say my bride Hoglien Do and I have traveled many miles apart and together and one thing we share is an enduring love for Vietnam and the Vietnamese people. We have expressed this view in something like 100 newspaper essays and Internet posting.
Having explained a lot of this to our most recent critic during an exchange of email yesterday we came to understand and "know" each other much better. We were in receipt of this email yesterday evening:
"Bac (means Uncle) John;
It was nice having this conversation with you. I can see all of us: you, your wife and me have one thing in common: we all want the best for the people of Vietnam although our methods might be difference.
I'm grateful that you - as a person who is not directly affected by the situation in Vietnam - care so much and have been doing so much for Vietnam.
I misunderstood you and thought you were sympathetic towards the Government of Free Vietnam.
For that, I do apologize.
To answer your question on the Government of Free Vietnam. I can't tell you what you should believe or think, but personally, I think that organization meets all the requirement to be branded as a terrorist one, what they have been doing does not help their cause, on the contrary, they are alienating Vietnamese like me, the people they need to succeed.
Thank you Bac John,
Now for a word about reading: we believe in it. Reading is informative, a key teaching tool, a source of enlightenment, and a way to school as well as amuse the mind. Reading teaches learning.
We have no love for video games. We think over exposing your children to video games wastes their time, hurts their ability to think and interact with their fellow man, harms their understanding of the meaning in life, saps strength from the ability to understand and function in the family, and disrupts their ability to perform as responsible members of society.
We think some video gaming in moderation may be acceptable: as long as there is generally balance in one's life and experiences.
We do not know about the "Government of Free Vietnam" and asked those more learned to inform us.
John E. Carey