The story of Vietnamese blogger Mother Mushroom

If you are a blogger for long and are interested in knowing how bloggers are faring globally, you must have heard about 'Mother Mushroom'. If you missed, read on...

An activist blogger takes birth

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh is a prominent Vietnamese blogger who started blogging in 2006 when she was pregnant. She wanted to blog on her pregnancy and the would-be child. 
During a visit to the hospital, she witnesses poor patients braving a hot sun for their turn only because they could not bribe the hospital staff for entry. That changed the subject of the blog from motherhood to activism.
She started taking part in protests against environmentally sensitive projects. Her reports on corruption in government offices, environmental hazards (including a massive fish kill)  and also her stand against China-backed projects that she saw as exploitative, Quynh caught the attention of the government. She was imprisoned in 2009 for writing about land grabbing by a China-backed bauxite mine. She had to shut down the blog in return for being released.
But she continued with blogging and activism. She was again arrested in 2016 while trying to meet an imprisoned political activist. This time her charge was rather serious in Vietnamese system of governance: conducting propaganda against the Vietnamese socialist government. For that, in 2017 a court awarded her a jail sentence of ten years. 


activist blogger

Under pressure from international civil rights organizations, Quynh was suddenly and quietly released on October 17, 2018 on the condition that she leave Vietnam. 
Quynh, 39, now lives in the US with her mother and two children. 
Mother Mushroom has received accolades and awards for her standing for human rights in the face of state repression. In 2015, she received an award from the Sweden-based Civil Rights Defenders. In 2017, she was awarded the International Women of Courage Award by the US state department. The latest one is the International Press Freedom Award, given to her in November 2018. 
In an interview to VOAnews after her release, she said on blogging for social change: We are not alone, because freedom is something that all of us, each and everyone of us, aspires to. Because of that common factor, because we all dream of the same dream, we are not alone and so if you can just overcome the personal fear of yours, you will find many, many other supporters out there. The minute that you speak out, thousands of other voices will join you. That is what we will draw our strength and force from.
But why Mushroom?
Quynh's blog indeed was supposed to be a motherhood blog. So she gave it the Vietnamese name Me Nam (Mother Mushroom) after her daughter's pet name, Nam, meaning mushroom. 

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