In Memory of General Giap
Editor’s Note: I made a mistake in writing this article, since General Giap is still alive even up to this day. However, for artistic reasons and your enjoyment, I have decided to leave this post as it is. I just want to point out my error and clarify that Vo Nguyen Giap is still alive. Thanks for visiting. (October 14, 2010)
About a month ago, General Vo Nguyen Giap of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam passed away. I myself have mixed opinions about General Giap, since he was a major player of North Vietnam during the war. Vo Nguyen Giap was a Communist, a prominent leader of North Vietnam who helped Ho Chi Minh defeat the democratic South Vietnam and led the country to Communism.
This sounds all too familiar, but when you look at his actions compared to other leaders such as Ho Chi Minh, Le Duan, and Truong Chinh, it is apparent that Giap had Vietnam’s interest first. When North Vietnam defeated the democratic South and implemented the Communist government in 1975, Giap advocated the safety of South Vietnamese workers and professionals instead of killing them out of vengeance.
Sources also suggests that Vo Nguyen Giap wanted to fix U.S.-Vietnamese relations after the war and move the country forward. However, other Communist leaders such as Le Duan opposed Giap’s policies and eventually marginalized his position in the Communist Party, neutralizing his influence. In modern Vietnam, General Giap is one of the few individuals courageous enough to oppose the corrupt Communist Party of the 21st century.
In the history of contemporary Vietnam, I can hardly find a Communist leader that I actually admire; Ho Chi Minh had us fooled in the past, making us think that he had Vietnam’s interest in mind; Le Duan was a hardline Communist, installing harsh, Stalinist policies that created much suffering for the Vietnamese people. After these men, I can honestly say that no Vietnamese leader within the past 20 years has done anything to help Vietnam.
I just want to recognize the contribution of General Vo Nguyen Giap and acknowledge what he has done for Vietnam. After all, let’s not forget how he helped kick out the French in 1954 and then the Americans in 1975.