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South Vietnamese Writer Commits Suicide as Protest

July 8, 1963 - Nguyen Tuong Tam (pictured), one of South Vietnam’s most celebrated writers, committed suicide today by taking poison. Mr. Tam, whose pen name was Nhat Linh, was to have gone on trial with 34 other civilians tomorrow on charges that he was a conspirator and a supporter of the abortive paratrooper coup d’état of 1960. In his wallet was found a piece of paper with his last will. It said: “History alone will judge my life. I will allow no man to try me. The arrest and trial of all nationalist opponents of the Diem regime is a crime which will force the nation into the hands of the Communists. I oppose this crime and, like the priest Thich Quang Duc, I kill myself as a warning to those people who are trampling on all freedoms.” The last sentence referred to the Buddhist priest who, after being doused with gasoline, set fire to himself in protest against the religious policies of the Government of President Ngo Dinh Diem.

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