Friday, February 12, 2010

VIET NAM BRIEF INTRO

The communist party is still alive, but not well. Only a very small percentage of the population are party members and government officials are struggling to keep their hands on the steering wheel of the zooming economy. There is only one political party and people who speak out are often jailed for long periods of time with no chance for trial. Just as an example, in 2004 a protest by hill-tribe people against government restrictions on religious practices and confiscation of ancestral lands ended up in 10 people being shot to death on the spot by police and many protestors receiving Propaganda people riding around on motorbikes or in cars with a big fat megaphone with some recording that just replays itself over and over and over. It must be a kind of psychological method of inducing people who live here to never forget how this country was founded and who won the war. It is very chilling just to hear it over the megaphone everywhere we go. Even though we don’t understand a thing they are saying, the tone in the voices are very obvious!

Around the late 2nd century AD when the Cham(very early ) empire was putting down roots in the Danang area, the Chinese had conquered the Red River Delta near Ha Noi. This was the beginning of a 1000 year pattern of of Vietnamese resistance of the yoke of Chinese rule. The most famous act of resistance way back then was a rebellion of two Trung sisters who drowned themselves rather than surrender to the Chinese. By the 10th Century, Vietnam had declared independence from China and so was the beginning of the 1000 years of Vietnamese dynasty rule. During this era, the Vietnamese successfully repulsed attacks by the Khmers, Chams, and Mongols and of course the Chinese eventually assimilating the Cham civilization into what is known today as Vietnam.

In 1858 the French invaded Vietnam by storming through Danang after several missionaries had been killed. A sort of “payback time” situation if you will. The following year, the French seized Saigon(now Ho Chi Minh City). By 1883 the French had imposed a Treaty Protectorate on Vietnam. The French colonial rule was termed as cruel and arbitrary. Ultimately, the most successful resistance to the French rule came from the communist party, of course. And so, the Vietnam Revolutionary Youth League was founded by none other than Ho Chi Minh himself in 1925. When WWII ended, Ho Chi Minh(whose forces already controlled large parts of Vietnam) declared Vietnam independent. A very bold move indeed. French efforts to reassert control soon led to full on confrontations and full-scale war. In May 1954, Viet Minh forces overran the French and ultimately drove the French out. The Geneva Accords of mid-1954 provided for a temporary division of Vietnam at the Ben Hai River. When the Catholic, anticommunist leader (Ngo Dinh Diem) of the south refused to submit to communist rule, the Ben Hai line became the border between North and South Vietnam. In 1960 the Hanoi government decided to take action and assimilate the defiant south and so the Viet Cong(VC) party was formed and the rest is of course history that we all should know already.

1 comments:

Margie February 13, 2010 at 5:51 PM  

What is interesting is that Ho Chi Minh approached Woodrow Wilson at the Treaty of Versaille after WWI to get him to move the French out and Wilson was too sick with the great Influenza to resist the French colonialist and also their penchant for vengance against the Germans.

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