Như Ngọc (Danlambao) - The beloved teacher Dinh Dang Dinh just breathed his last breath and passed away in the loving arms of his family and friends at 9:30 p.m. on April 3, 2014, at his home in Dak Nong province.
After more than 2 years of imprisonment in harsh prison condition and lack of medical care, teacher Dinh Dang Dinh died of stomach cancer in final stages at the age of 50.
His permanent departure is an infinite grief for the democracy movement in Vietnam for losing his dedication, contributions, and sacrifices for the country.
Teacher Dinh Dang Dinh, born in 1963 in Hai Duong, was a former lieutenant of the Vietnam People's Army. Due to his disagreement with the Communist party, he left the army and became a high school chemistry teacher at Le Quy Don High School in Dak Nong.
Witnessing the destruction of the Bauxite Project, teacher Dinh dang Dinh had actively called on local residents to sign a protest against this polluting project. His activism drew the support from many local residents and also made him a target of harassment from the authorities.
Then he continued to publish many articles expressing his dissent with the leadership of the Communist party. He strongly urged for democracy, political pluralism and human rights for the people of Vietnam.
In October 2011, teacher Dinh Dang Dinh was arrested for allegedly "conducting propaganda against the State" under Article 88 of the Penal Code. A year later, the Dak Nong provincial court sentenced him to 6 years in prison.
Suffering stomach cancer and the harsh prison condition while serving his jail term, his health had badly depleted. Although his family had repeatedly requested the prison to take him to a hospital for treatment, prison officials had deliberately delayed an approval for him to seek the treatment he seriously needed.
At the end of 2013, when his health had become extremely bad, teacher Dinh Dang Dinh was taken to a hospital to have 3/4 of his stomach removed. Even though when his health was not recovered after the surgery and he still suffered a lot of pains, teacher Dinh was immediately taken back to the prison.
After returning to the prison, his health had become increasingly depleted while the prison deliberately ignored the cries from his family.
In early 2014, prison police took him back to Saigon for another treatment; however, the cancer then was in the final stages and no longer curable.
Talking to the journalist Truong Minh Duc, the teacher said when he discovered blood in his bowel movement he requested going to a hospital for an examination but the prison wardens beat him instead of considering his request.
On March 21, 2014, teacher Dinh Dang Dinh received an “amnesty” from President Truong Tan Sang when he was so close to his death.Reportedly, the amnesty was granted for the purpose of "meeting the requirements of domestic and foreign affairs of the state."
Sharing his thought with VOA after receiving the amnesty, the teacher said: "This order does not bring anything valuable anymore because I am going to lose all of my physical strength."
"No mercy, no humanitarian whatsoever. For those who are concerned, please pay attention to the common objective which is the struggle against the dictatorship of the Communist regime. I personally do not have anything left to be cared for anymore."
After learning that he would not survive, teacher Dinh Dang Dinh expressed his will to be taken back to his home in Dak Nong for spending the little time left to live under the old roof aside relatives and neighbors and to die in the arms of his loved ones.
On April 03, 2014, just a few hours before his death, the Redemptorist Order priest Anton Le Ngoc Thanh had come to teacher Dinh’s home in Dak Nong to perform a baptism ceremony for him; the teacher chose Peter for his baptized name.
The Rev. Dinh Huu Thoai makes an announcement on his Facebook as follow:
"According to the wishes of teacher Peter Dinh Dang Dinh, the Redemptorist Order will arrange the funeral for him. With the approval of the Superiors and the family agreement, the arrangements are as follow:
Enshrouding the body and closing the casket in Dak Nong. The casket will be transported to the Hamlet 2 Catholic Chapel (Nhà nguyện Xóm giáo 2) on Hoang Sa Street and Truong Dinh Street for a wake. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at 38 Ky Dong Street, District 3 in Saigon. Cremation ceremony will take place in Binh Hung Hoa.
Detail information will be announced after consulting with the teacher’s family.
Respectfully announced for everyone to make arrangement at your convenience."