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Reviewing the photos of our trip reminds me of our run-in with the Communist Party in Thanh Hoa province, in the village where Joe Kernan's plane had been shot down. Angry with us for not having informed them beforehand that we would be arriving in their village with TV cameras and an entourage in tow, the local Communist leaders summoned us to their headquarters for what turned out to be a very tense meeting.

Thanks to the fast thinking of Tung, our guide, we were spared the officials' full wrath; but I was reminded that simply by the mere luck of where we were born, just how fortunate we are to live in an open and democratic society.

That meeting, along with the fact that Facebook was often blocked wherever we went in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, also reminded me that, although progress has been made in these countries, there is a long way to go.

People everywhere just want to be free; free to raise their families, to try to make a better life for themselves and their children, and free to pursue happiness. And yet so many people still live under less than idea conditions, with those who are trying to fight for freedom for their fellow countrymen often jailed -- or worse.  In Southeast Asia, in the former Indochina, one country continues to stick out as among the worst offenders.

Myanmar -- the former Burma -- continues to hold one of the world's best-known dissidents. I hope you'll enjoy this moving tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi, who has remained under house arrest in Burma for most of the past twenty years. Having spent much of her life fighting for her people, she is an inspiration to millions worldwide.

Additionally, I've included a very brief video of Bishop Desmond Tutu: prepare to be moved!

 


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