Annotated Bibliography: Gary Lester’s Book Review of “Hell in An Loc: The 1972 Easter Invasion and the Battle That Saved South Vietnam” by Lam Quang Thi

Posted in Books, Modern History, Modern History - A.B. with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2015 by Ian Pham

ARVN Photo, An Loc BattleImage via Amazon

Lester, Gary. Review of Hell in An Loc: The 1972 Easter Invasion and the Battle That Saved South Vietnam, by Lam Quang Thi. Air Power History (2010): 56.

Dr. Gary Lester’s review of Hell in An Loc: The 1972 Easter Invasion and the Battle That Saved South Vietnam provides a concise and informative summary of former ARVN General Lam Quang Thi’s book. According to Lester, “Hell in An Loc is an intimate glimpse into the inner workings of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) during its moment of great crisis in the spring of 1972…” It was then that the U.S. was steadily drawing down its forces in Vietnam, while the North Vietnamese built up their forces for an ambitious military operation to overrun South Vietnam.

In his review, Lester presents many insightful information from General Thi’s book, such as the details of North Vietnam’s 1972 Easter Offensive, a massive military campaign that was even larger than the Tet Offensive of 1968. The enemy’s “three-pronged” operation would find its way to the town of An Loc, where South Vietnam’s 5th Division, consisting of only 7,500 soldiers, confronted and repelled a 21,000-strong North Vietnamese onslaught.

Facing a massive invading force three times their size, the outnumbered ARVN forces incurred losses of 2,300 deaths, while dealing a crushing blow to the North Vietnamese Army, who suffered a loss of 6,500 deaths at the hands of the South Vietnamese. The attack on An Loc lasted from April to August of 1972, ending with the successful defense of the town by the ARVN against the invading North. The ARVN forces were provided with powerful air support from their remaining U.S. allies, who, along with the South Vietnamese Air Force, dealt heavy damage to enemy tanks and artillery.

An important note that Lester pinpoints in his review is the valor and bravery displayed by the “too often voiceless” soldiers of South Vietnam, in a significant battle that was largely ignored by American media. An Loc’s omission from America’s news coverage is an important point acknowledged in Lester’s review, a vivid example of the media’s bias towards the Republic of Vietnam, and how the Southern point of view is methodically neglected and distorted by the majority of Western journalists. Lam Quang Thi’s account of the Battle of An Loc, in the words of Gary Lester, “is a testimony to the courage and bravery of the ARVN garrison at An Loc. The book tells the South Vietnamese side of the story and renders justice to the South Vietnamese soldiers who withstood ninety-four days of horror and prevailed.”

Reading Lester’s review alone, one gains great insight into the Battle of An Loc, as well as a clearer understanding of the Vietnam War, a hotly debated subject in which South Vietnam and the ARVN are almost always misrepresented.

Introducing: The Annotated Bibliography

Posted in A Piece of History, Annotated Bibliography, Editor's Note with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2015 by Ian Pham

History

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Image and quote via Cal U

It is my pleasure to introduce to you all, the new “Annotated Bibliography” feature of Freedom For Vietnam. This new section will feature reviews and discussions on various research materials, which in our case, will likely mostly consist of academic journals and books. It will not be limited to just these, however.

How it will work is that, every now and then, I will write an article/review about an existing source of research, such as a book or journal article. Each newly published blog article, while being a standalone blog article in itself, will also act as an update to the bibliography, which can be found primarily in the “Categories” section of the blog, with another, truncated and alphabetized version in the “Pages” section at the top.

As of right now, there will be three different annotated bibliographic categories, based on three different eras of Vietnamese history: Ancient History, Dynastic History, and Modern History. The lists will be short at first, but with every new update, with every new article, the categories, and the bibliographies themselves, will continue to grow. In turn, you readers will have an increasingly large pool of references to look at, either for your own research, or just for your own entertainment.

By creating this feature, I want to help provide a place of reference, a foundation, in which we can all further our knowledge of Vietnam’s history. I hope it helps, and I hope you all enjoy it.

* As a side note, all the historical categories listed under “Annotated Bibliography” will be marked with an “A.B.” at the end of the name (e.g. “Modern History – A.B.”), in order to distinguish them from the categories under “A Piece of History,” which carry the same name (minus the “A.B.”), and mark the same time periods. This is important as articles from “Annotated Bibliography” will also be listed under the broader “A Piece of History” section, due to their relevance in this category as well.

Fighting Fire With Fire: Protesters in Binh Thuan Fight Back Against Communist Police With Rocks and Molotov Cocktails

Posted in Current Events, Videos with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2015 by Ian Pham

Binh Thuan ProtestPhoto via Dan Lam Bao

The following event occurred just last month, on April 14 and 15, 2015, only two weeks after the major labor strikes that engulfed Southern Vietnam for eight days.

In the province* of Binh Thuan, inhabitants took to the streets to express outrage at the Vietnamese Communist Party’s continued concessions to the People’s Republic of China, whose aggressive and intrusive actions in Vietnamese territory go on unabated, even fostered, by the government in Hanoi.

According to Dan Lam Bao, the people of Binh Thuan have grown fed up with the extensive pollution and environmental damage on their land brought forth by the construction of the Chinese Vinh Tan 2 thermoelectric plant. Prior to the protests, citizens of Binh Thuan were already concerned with the Vietnamese government’s decision to contract Binh Thuan land out to a Chinese company. Many attempts were made by the people to express these concerns to the government, but their objections went continually ignored by the VCP. As a result, with the construction projects going forward and wreaking havoc on the environment in Binh Thuan, the people took to the streets to make their voices heard.

The protesters came out in droves, in the thousands, and, as usual, the Party sent in the police to forcefully suppress the demonstrations. However, following the welcome trend in Vietnam as of late, the protesters fought back against the crackdown forces of the VCP. The authorities were met with fierce resistance. Many protesters threw rocks at the government forces, while others were resourceful enough to use Molotov cocktails to combat the communist police.

As China steadily maintains its encroachment on Vietnam’s territories, using the diplomatic, military, and economic means at their disposal, the VCP seems content on yielding in every case. The Vietnamese communists often avoid the issue at hand in the face of public criticism, all while citing the “friendship” that the two communist nations allegedly share, despite what reality clearly illustrates. The cowardice and treason of the government in Hanoi has sparked anger and disdain among the people of Vietnam.

The protests were captured on video and can be seen below:

Here are some highlights:

Vietnamese Protesters Throw Rocks at Communist Police

A flurry of rocks and other objects are thrown at the communist police. Jeers and insults can be heard from the crowd as they unloaded on the VCP forces.

Binh Thuan Protest

Protesters throw Molotov cocktails at the suppressive police forces on the streets of Binh Thuan.

Binh Thuan Protest 2

VCP police fire shots to intimidate the crowd, only to have them mockingly laugh and taunt in response.

The protests have since subsided. However, I think it is high time that the people of Vietnam stood up more to the VCP and their repressive measures, the way they did in this video, and in Saigon several weeks before that.

I support this development. It’s time to stand up.

Source:

Dan Lam Bao

* Correction: A typo was made saying the “city” of Binh Thuan. This has since been corrected to “province” of Binh Thuan. Apologies for any misunderstanding.

A Short Commemoration on This First Journey to Freedom Day

Posted in Current Events, Editor's Note with tags , , , , , , on April 30, 2015 by Ian Pham

Journey to Freedom Day in OttawaA crowd of over 500 people gathered in downtown Ottawa today for the inaugural Journey to Freedom Day celebration. Photo via Julie Oliver/Ottawa Citizen

Earlier today, Canada celebrated its first annual Journey to Freedom Day, a day of commemoration for the fall of Saigon, the harrowing journey of the Vietnamese boat people in search of freedom, and their vast contributions to Canada following their arrival. The significance of this day reaches far beyond Canada, however, as Vietnamese refugees were fortunate to find a new home in many different nations across the western world since departing from South Vietnam on and after April 30, 1975.

We don’t have much time left before the day is over, so I will have to make this brief.

Today, we mourn the loss of the Republic of Vietnam to the Communist North. It is on this day, forty years ago, April 30, 1975, that the Northern tanks stormed through the gates of Saigon’s Presidential Palace, signifying the end of the Vietnam War. Without getting into the politics of it all, it is acknowledged as a day of sadness, panic, and heartbreak. On that day alone, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people fled the country in frantic hysteria, with the sea being their only way out.

It is on that day that the journey to freedom began, and the day that a new chapter in our history commenced. For the next two decades, two million people would leave Vietnam in search of a better life. Of this two million, two hundred and fifty thousand would not make it.

For those fortunate enough, new homes would be found in distant lands such as Australia, Europe, America, and Canada. They were the lucky ones, the survivors, and they are our parents or grandparents. It is because of them, because of that journey, that we all have this life today. They risked their lives, they braved the dangers of that voyage across the ocean, and as a result of their strength and courage, we all are blessed with this life and this freedom. It is for this reason that a day such as Journey to Freedom Day carries so much significance across the world. Though Canada is the first to acknowledge the significance of April 30, we are all connected by the stories behind this day. We are all Vietnamese, and we are all here because of someone before us, who was brave and strong enough to embark on that journey to freedom.

Whether we are in Canada, the United States, Australia, or Europe, we are all here for the same reason, because someone before us took that harrowing voyage, that journey to freedom. Thus, it is important that we all understand the significance of Journey to Freedom Day, and how, despite being from different parts of the world, we all share that same history, the foundations brought forth by that incredible journey.

On this day, we remember the fallen. The soldiers, the people, and the nation of South Vietnam. Furthermore, we, on this day, commemorate the courage and sacrifice of the boat people on that perilous journey, and in that, we must never forget how precious a gift freedom truly is.

Enjoy your Journey to Freedom Day, everyone.

Always remember.

Canada Passes Bill S-219, Officially Marking April 30 as “Journey to Freedom Day”

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2015 by Ian Pham

Journey to Freedom Event, OntarioPhoto via Twitter @MarkAdlerMP

It’s official, folks. As of late last week, April 30 will be known each year in Canada as Journey to Freedom Day, a day of commemoration for the Vietnamese boat people, their long and dangerous journey across the ocean after the fall of South Vietnam, and ultimately, their new beginnings and incredible contributions as proud and free citizens of Canada.

Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Minister of Multiculturalism, and ardent advocate of the Journey to Freedom Day Act since its inception, issues the following statement:

“This year Canadians will mark the first annual Journey to Freedom Day, thanks to a Senate bill which received Royal Assent today.

“The Journey to Freedom Day Act, which was introduced in the Senate in April 2014 by the Honourable Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, designates April 30 as a day to commemorate the thousands of Vietnamese ‘boat people’ Canada has welcomed since the end of the Vietnam War.

“Designating April 30 as an annual day of commemoration will give Canadians the opportunity to reflect on the journey of more than 60,000 Vietnamese refugees to Canada, to recognize the remarkable role Canadians played in helping them settle in their new home through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program, and to celebrate the contributions of Canadians of Vietnamese origin to our country.

“I encourage all Canadians to reflect on the heartbreaking and inspiring voyage of the Vietnamese boat people, which is an important part of our country’s history.”

Mark Adler was the sponsor of Bill S-219 in Canada’s House of Commons during its lengthy process of becoming law. His hard work in support of the Journey to Freedom Day Act is another huge reason for its great success.

Here are some tweets and retweets by Member of Parliament Mark Adler on the passing of the Journey to Freedom Day Act:

There’s not much else to be said here, folks. It’s done, and it’s beautiful. The significance of this law echoes far beyond Canada itself, as freedom-loving Vietnamese across the world are rejoicing the passing of this law, and commending Canada for this great commemorative act.

Congratulations to Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, Member of Parliament Mark Adler, Defence Minister and Multicultural Minister Jason Kenney, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and everyone involved in making Journey to Freedom Day a reality. Thank you for all your hard work, thank you for making this possible, and thank you for your service. You just made history.

In all, congratulations to Canada for being the first country to pass this trailblazing legislation. From Vietnamese communities across the world, inside and outside of Vietnam, you have done us all proud!

Journey to Freedom Day Becomes LawPhoto via Twitter @MarkAdlerMP

#JourneyToFreedomDay2015

#40YearsRememberingSouthVietnam

#LestWeForget

Canada Aiming to Pass April 30, 1975 Commemoration Legislation, Known as the “Journey to Freedom Day” Act

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2015 by Ian Pham

Harper in Toronto Tet 2015

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks to a large crowd at the Tết 2015 Festival in Toronto in February. In his speech, the Prime Minister announces Canada’s intention to pass the “Journey to Freedom Day” Act. Photo via Vietnamese Association of Toronto

The Government of Canada is in the process of passing a new law commemorating the arrival of the Vietnamese “boat people” refugees to Canada after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Known as the “Journey to Freedom Day” Act, or Bill S-219, the legislation honors all of the Vietnamese people who escaped South Vietnam in the wake of the Communist takeover. If passed, April 30 will be known every year in Canada as “Journey to Freedom Day,” an official day of remembrance, recognizing the courage and sacrifice of the Vietnamese boat people and their incredible journey to freedom.

Originally put forth by Canadian Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, the law has already been passed by the Canadian Senate in December 2014, and has since been referred to the House of Commons for further consideration.

According to Senator Ngo’s website:

“I am extremely honoured to announce that Bill S-219, known as the Journey to Freedom Day Act, passed the Senate on December 8, 2014, and has now been referred to the House of Commons.”

“The bill regarding Journey to Freedom Day, alternatively known as Black April Day by the Vietnamese-Canadian community, establishes a day to commemorate the thousands of refugees who fled Vietnam in pursuit of freedom, and it pays tribute to Canada’s humanitarian tradition of welcoming thousands of refugees during and after the Vietnam War.”

“For the past 39 years, Vietnamese-Canadians have gathered on April 30 to remember a new beginning and to thank Canada. In 2015, the Vietnamese-Canadian community will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the boat people’s resettlement in Canada. I envision the Journey to Freedom Day Act as a way to mark this milestone year, to thank Canada for saving our lives and to commemorate the Vietnamese refugees’ new-found freedom.”

As expected, the Vietnamese government in Hanoi is not happy about this development. According to The Globe and Mail, Nguyen Tan Dung has written directly to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in protest of the new bill. In Dung’s letter, he claims that the legislation presents “a distorted version of Vietnam’s history,” and will likely “damage the bilateral relations both countries have worked so hard to build.” Moreover, a Vietnamese diplomat in Canada claims that the new bill “hurts” Vietnam, as April 30 is described by Hanoi as a day that marks the end of the war and “the beginning of reconciliation.” The Communist government has also accused Senator Ngo of “dredging up the past” in introducing Bill S-219, among the aforementioned and other similar complaints.

In response to Hanoi’s objections, members of the Canadian government have stated clearly that this is a private member’s bill, and does not signify Canadian foreign policy. Furthermore, Senator Ngo reaffirms the fact that the Journey to Freedom Day bill has nothing to do with Vietnam’s current regime, but rather with the Vietnamese refugees, and Canada’s warm welcome of these refugees after April 1975.

Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Minister of Multiculturalism, and Member of Parliament, explains that he supports Journey to Freedom Day because it celebrates the 60,000 Vietnamese who “risked their lives in search of freedom and found it in Canada.” Mr. Kenney also adds that, “Canada continues to have respectful relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

Senator Thanh Hai Ngo sums up the purpose of the bill in a simple statement: “Freedom is not free, and the boat people paid for their freedom with their perilous journey.”

There are many reasons to support this bill, it delivers a positive message and commemorates that incredible and terrifying journey which made today possible for so many of us. It also celebrates the significant role that overseas Vietnamese have played in building up their new home countries after leaving Vietnam in 1975 and the years onward. This bill may be introduced in Canada, but the significance is not just in Canada alone. Across the western world, Vietnamese refugees have braved the ocean waves in their search for freedom.

As Vietnamese people who love freedom, democracy, and human rights, and this includes not just those of us in Canada, but also the U.S., Australia, Europe, and everywhere else, it is important that we support this bill and what it represents. This law marks an important epoch for people of Vietnamese origin living overseas, and can set an example for other nations if they so desire to pass similar legislation in the future.

To my readers in Canada, if you haven’t already, please take a moment to sign this petition and share it with your family, friends, colleagues, and anyone who may be interested. The petition is put forth by MP Jason Kenney, and lets Canadians show their support for “Journey to Freedom Day,” also known as Bill S-219.

It only takes a second to sign, and every signature counts.

>> Click here to sign the petition! <<

Let’s make this happen!

Sources:

Joan Bryden (The Canadian Press), Kim Mackreal (The Globe and Mail), Member of Parliament Jason Kenney, Prime Minister of Canada, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo (2), Vietnamese Association of Toronto

Footage: Protesters in Saigon Fight Back Against Government Crackdown, Police Forced to Flee

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2015 by Ian Pham

Saigon Protest, April 2015

Photo via Dan Lam Bao

Earlier this month, the city of Saigon and its surrounding areas were swept by a series of major worker demonstrations. The protests lasted more than a week, and sparked a confrontation between communist authorities and protest participants. Resistance to government crackdown was so fierce that members of the VCP police were forced to flee, with protesters giving chase.

For eight consecutive days, workers took to the streets to protest against the Vietnamese Communist government in response to a new law passed last November that limits citizens’ eligibility to claim social insurance. As a result of the new legislation, the people of Vietnam are unable to collect the social insurance money, which they have been paying into all their working lives, until the ages of 55 and 60, for women and men, respectively.

The social insurance fund is paid for by the working population of Vietnam through taxes, and is supposed to be available to the people during periods of unemployment. However, because of the new law passed by the Communist government, the people will be unable to claim any of this money until they are well approaching the age of seniority. This presents some obvious problems, such as the fact that the majority of Vietnam’s working population is well below the age range of 55-60, and are therefore the largest age group that will need to claim this money.

Another pressing issue that workers identify with this social insurance legislation is the fear that there may not be any money left in the fund by the time they reach ages 55 and 60. As one may or may not know, the VCP has a tendency to appropriate money inappropriately, allocating funds that do not belong to them right into their own pockets. Corruption within the VCP is a widely known reality, and like the many cases in the past, it is suspected that the government is siphoning money from the social insurance fund, just like they do in so many other areas of the treasury. The age restriction is believed to be a ploy by the Communist Party to bide time and prevent citizens from claiming money that no longer exists as a result of government corruption.

Thus, in reaction to the new law and all its implications, the workers in Southern Vietnam assembled in the streets of Saigon to protest against the VCP. The protests lasted for eight days between late March and early April, 2015, and drew as many as 90,000 participants on its first day alone. It would eventually expand to nearby cities as well, sparking strikes in Binh Duong, Long An, Tay Ninh, and Tien Giang.

In typical communist fashion, the police were called in to terrorize and crackdown on the protesters, with the ultimate goal of crushing the demonstration. However, in an unprecedented twist, the protesters in Saigon turned against the government forces and fought them back, causing many policemen to flee from the scene.

The event is captured on video and can be seen below, via Dan Lam Bao:

As can be seen, the VCP police force attempted to surround the protesters using their typical crackdown tactics. Only this time, the protesters pushed them right back, and in the end, caused the police to break up and run like a pack of ducks. Just goes to show how cowardly the communist forces actually are. They are trained to surround, isolate, and terrorize people who don’t fight back. When met with fierce resistance however, as exemplified by the video above, they just drop everything and run.

Communist Police Running Away From Protesters

Communist police. Bunch of pathetic losers.

DMCS.

Sources:

Ban doc Dan Lam Bao, Ban doc Dan Lam Bao (2), CTV (Dan Lam Bao)Hoang Tran (Dan Lam Bao), Ngoc An (Dan Lam Bao)

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