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A Message from Xuan: A Song of Peace to the Forest

I was born in South Vietnam. I am a product of rape, the violent act against my mother. With her compassion she gave birth to me--with forgiveness she loved me--with her wisdom she taught me to love and be strong. I'm honored. I thank her for all she went through for me.

I never dreamed the same terrible, violent act would happen to me, but due to the Vietnam war, it did happen to me as a teenager. The war took away my childhood, destroyed my home, killed my first love and made me a war widow.

To survive I had to do things I am not proud of because I had no other choices.

Two weeks ago, I told my mother - on the telephone - about getting to be part of the Beijing + 5 Conference on Women, about women coming from all over the world to support, to teach, to learn and understand their common bonds. And most of all, we want peace for our children and grand children. And my mother said to me, "It sounds to me , "little tree" (her pet name for me), that you have found your forest, where you belong and will grow."

Here I am today among all of you--my "forest." I'm going to use my war experience as a breath of wind. Strong winds blow and I will sing my song of peace to the forest. And the forest will sing along. The power of our song of peace will echo through the universe and all over the earth.

Let me begin today by continuing to tell my story, and by continuing to sing my song--my song of peace. Thank you all for listening, and perhaps you, my forest, can teach me your song.

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