Notably, the number of martyr journalists of Vietnam News Agency (VNA) is the highest. These 200 heroic journalists braved all difficulties and dangers to their lives to cover reports on the battlefields not only in Vietnam but also Laos and Cambodia during the resistance wars for the freedom and independence of each country.
Nguyen Tu Nien, former head of a group of journalists of Vietnam News Agency based in Laos used to be one of these brave journalists.
At that time, three Indochinese countries had to cooperate in the fight against French colonialists and American imperialists and thousands of young Vietnamese volunteered to fight in Laos and Cambodia.
Vietnam News Agency was responsible for covering full news and supporting Laos and Cambodia to build their own news agency.
Nguyen Tu Nien was sent to Laos to be responsible in the Chum field in Xieng Khuang Province, the liberated area of Lao front.
|Mr. Nguyen Tu Nien (left) |
Chum field, a large and mysterious field of stone jars, was the most violent place during two wars, especially a war caused by American empire, called “Secret war” in Laos during 1965-1975.
All Vietnamese volunteer journalists braved all difficulties to help colleges in Laos News Agency. They should go secretly without leaving their names and stayed in the thatched houses of the Lao local people surrounded by dense trenches. They had to write under the light of oil lamps of the light from turpentine, then sent their news to the news agency by a hand operated electric generator. They also suffered from the shortage of food, medicine while malaria epidemic constantly raged for months.
Once while working out, the enemy attacked and occupied the Chum field, blocking the way to their rear and the reporters had to stay at local people’s house for the whole week amidst thousands of bugs and cobras while suffering from malaria.
One day, Nen was sent to Khai commune, a commune known for brave fighting and fighting service with two Lao reporters. They had to come a cross position subjected to raids all day by the American troops. After crossing that position for several hundreds meters, they heard a sound of airplane and they had to rush to underground tunnel nearby. Unfortunately Nen’s right leg was hit by a rock and he could not make a move before reaching the tunnel. The two Lao reporters had to take Nen to the house of chairman of commune to get information to write news.
Another time when Nen was bathing in a stream nearby, American’s bomb dropped right on the shelter where Nen and the Lao telegrapher Phomma (Deputy Director-General of Laos News Agency later) were staying. The American bombings destroyed the radiotelegraph and smothered Phomma with full of ruins and dust. The two journalists of Vietnam and Laos embraced each other and could not check tears.
Finally Phomma could repair the radiotelegraph and received a signal from other end. For journalists away from home, that signals was their dear home which was even better than songs of forest birds. Another unforgettable story is that on the eve of Vietnamese Tet festival, Vietnamese journalists were so touched though the Lao journalists cooked a pot of warm soup for them.
With only rudimentary tools, news written by journalists were broadcast on news agency, timely reporting the information about the war in Laos.
After a long period of working in Laos, Nen returned Vietnam and wrote news for the papers and wrote various books. One of his books, “Uncle Ho’s style”, recording his feelings about bright morality and kindness of President Ho Chi Minh was published by People's Army Publishing House in 2010.
In addition, he wrote many articles about his unforgettable memories of his time working in Laos. For him, it was a hard but honorable time of a journalist to share all weal and woe with their Lao colleagues and witnessed Vietnamese volunteer soldiers’ sacrifices for their independence and freedom of two countries of Vietnam and Laos.
Source: CAND Translated by Nguyen Thao