Remembering Ngo Dinh Diem
Depending on who you talk to, opinions about President Ngo Dinh Diem can range from being very positive to not-so-positive. As the President of South Vietnam, Diem was faced with much scrutiny and criticism for his mistreatment and discrimination against non-catholic citizens. Another problem with President Diem is the nepotism that is evident in his government. Ngo Dinh Diem gives government positions to his family members, arguably turning his administration into an authoritarian family. For these reasons, one can look at the image of President Ngo Dinh Diem with a sense disapproval and contempt. On the other hand, one must also look at the contributions of President Diem to Vietnam in order to see the big picture. Under his presidency, the Republic of Vietnam was a very prosperous place. Schools were built, roads were paved, jobs were created, the economy developed rapidly, and the Communists were held at bay. It is true that Ngo Dinh Diem made some dramatic errors during his term as President, but he also leaves a legacy of prosperity and independence that Vietnam has never again experienced since the Communists takeover in 1975. It is sad to think about how Vietnam could have turned out if Ngo Dinh Diem had never been assassinated. If one condemns him for his mistakes, then one should also commend him for his accomplishments.