Saturday, April 30, 2005

Vietnam's Victory

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Vietnam is celebrating that great victory of the proletariat over the imperialistic forces of capitalism. Lets look at the consequences of that great victory. South Korea, that poor agricultural region that was unable to be saved from the Americans had a per capital Gross National Income of $9,930 in 2004. Victorious Vietnam’s GNI was $430 per person. But money isn’t the sole measure of success. Quality of living must be factored in. Over 400,000 South Vietnamese got free public “re-education” camp privileges. The quality of living is so good that only 500,000 people have felt the need to leave since victory was won.

Here is a poem by Nguyen Chi Thien a long time prisoner of conscience in northern Vietnam.

From ape to man, the process took millions of years
From man to ape, how many years?
World, please come and visit
The concentration camps in the heart of the far-off jungles!
Naked prisoners, taking baths together in herds
Living in ill-smelling darkness with lice and mosquitoes.
Fighting with each other for a piece of manioc or sweet potato
Chained, shot, dragged, slit up at the will of their captors
Thrown away for the rats to bite without anyone's notice!
This kind of ape is not fast but very slow in action indeed
Quite different from that of the remote prehistory
They are hungry, they are thin as toothpicks
And yet they produce the nation's wealth all year long
World, please come and visit!

Written in 1967 things are no doubt better today. However they could certianly be improved.

Human Rights In Vietnam
The State Department's latest human rights report describes Vietnam's human rights record as "poor." Freedom of speech, press, and assembly are restricted in Vietnam. Citizens are denied the right to change their government. Some Montagnards in the Central Highlands were reportedly killed while taking part in demonstrations in April 2004. The U.S. is urging Vietnam to respect the rights of its citizens.

I wish I could link to Freedom Fighters out of Vietnam but that will probably not be happening soon.

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