Archive for February, 2011

A Symbol of Hope

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on February 10, 2011 by Ian Pham

The world has been paying very close attention to the happenings of North Africa (I mistakingly referred to the region as the Middle East before, oops!), and for good reason.  The outbreaks in Tunisia last month, as well as the more recent events in Egypt, shows that the population of any country is capable of sparking a revolution, no matter how oppressive their governments are.  The people of these countries toppled their corrupted leaders, punishing them for their wrongful acts.

Though the future of these countries are still to be determined, it is significant to say that the people have made a change.  The Tunisian people ousted their President, forcing him to flee the country to a haven oversees.  In Egypt, the population is currently figuring out what to do with Hosni Mubarak, the outgoing President of the country.  Needless to say, these autocrats have lost their mandate to govern.  They have lost the support of the people and must now deal with the consequences.

What does this have to do with the people of Vietnam and China? At the moment, the governments of these Communist countries are trying everything in their power to censor these events from their people.  Why?  The people in North Africa rose up, united as one to punish their oppressors, something that the people of Vietnam are struggling to accomplish.  The Communists are cracking down harder than ever, because their very existence is on the line.

What would happen if the Vietnamese people turned on the TV and saw the revolutions erupting across Egypt and Tunisia?  If the people of Vietnam somehow witnessed the protests across North Africa, they would surely emulate.  The government’s right to govern lies in the hands of the people, if the government betrayed the people of the country, they deserve to get punished to the full extent of the law.  The new generation of Vietnamese do not yet understand that, but in time, they will.

The actions of the people in North Africa shows that it is very possible to overcome  a repressive government, that the government’s authority ultimately lies in the hands of the people.  Their achievements are a symbol of hope for everyone who wish to be liberated from the oppression of dictatorships everywhere.  The Communist governments in Vietnam and China should learn a lesson from North Africa, because it is only a matter of time before their populations punish them as well.

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Communist Countries Censor Egypt

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , on February 8, 2011 by Ian Pham

As forecasted, both China and Vietnam are censoring all happenings in and around Egypt in frantic efforts to keep their people from finding out.  The events taking place in Egypt, not to mention Tunisia and elsewhere in the Middle East, are quite revolutionary in nature.  This is something that the Communists are extremely afraid of and will try everything to keep their people from mimicking.

The governments of Vietnam and China have censored all searches that include “Egypt” as a keyword.  According to Newsweek, China is regards the events happening in the Middle East as “a continuation of colored revolutions that toppled authoritarian post-Soviet regimes in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan.”  It is obvious that this reasoning worries the Communists, as the global impacts of these events may lead to the toppling of their respective regimes as well.

If the people of Asia realized what was happening in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, they would surely learn from these events and turn against the Communists.  The Communists of Vietnam and China understand this very well.  The chance of their populations rising up against the Party terrifies the Communist leaders, which is why they are doing everything they can to keep their people from making this dream a reality.  Information is a powerful weapon.

The People Have Spoken, Victory in Cairo

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on February 4, 2011 by Ian Pham

After 11 days of fierce protests, demonstrations, and violence in the city of Cairo, the revolt is finally beginning to calm down.  Just days ago, the atmosphere in Egypt was extremely hostile.  The protests in Cairo turned violent as the people of Egypt clashed with the government police and gangs loyal to Mr. Mubarak.  Reporters were all in danger of being attacked by the Mubarak loyalist and had to seek refuge in undisclosed locations.

Today however, the mood has completely changed.  The protesters have prevailed, successful in bringing many Egyptians onto their side.  Even the military is showing their support for the demonstrators, as many have decided to join in the protests themselves.  Chants, prayers, and verses of the National Anthem echoed across Egypt as tens of thousands of people poured into the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez.

Right now it is unclear what will happen to President Mubarak as he stubbornly refuses to resign from his post.  Even so, Mubarak has faced enormous pressure from other national leaders, who are contemplating ways to relieve him of his Presidential post.  It is exceedingly clear that neither the people of Egypt, nor the international community will accept Mubarak’s reign any longer.

This victory of the Egyptian people over the Mubarak government is shaping up to be a very positive event.  The fate of the country must always be in the hands of the people, not a collection of powerful individuals who hold military and political clout.  The future of Egypt is yet to be determined, though the momentum seems to be on the side of the people.  President Mubarak’s power is steadily eroding as his authoritarian style of government is no longer tolerated.

It is to my understanding that dictatorships such as Vietnam and China are scrambling to block all news of the current happenings around Egypt in desperate attempts to shield the enormous impacts from their people.  If news of the Egyptian peoples’ success managed to reach the people of Vietnam and China, the Communists would have a very big problem to deal with from their respective populations.  Hopefully the news reaches them somehow, wouldn’t that be something?

Photos courtesy of: The New York Times & The Los Angeles Times

What is Tết?!

Posted in I. News, II. History, IV. Columns with tags , , , , on February 2, 2011 by Ian Pham

Today marks the eve of Vietnam’s famous holiday Tết, also known as the Lunar New Year for many other East Asian countries.  It is on Tết where everyone in Vietnam, as well as China, hold many jubilant celebrations to welcome the new year.  Gifts are exchanged, ancestors are honored and commemorated, and many kind words are given between neighbors and friends.  It’s also the time when the flowers bloom, a sign that spring is not far away.

The streets are decorated with bright traditional lamps, along with many other bright and vibrant decorations, although it is difficult to know how Tết is usually celebrated in these countries, as everything is regulated by the government.  Over here in the west, many parents and older family members like to visit the temples and churches, pay respects to the heavens and wish that blessings be bestowed on the ones they love.

One of the most common traditions of Tết is send your best wishes to the ones you care about, especially the elderly.  So if you wish to take part in this piece of Vietnamese culture, go to your mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, or any older member of the family that you care about (or how about just everybody!?), and wish them the best of luck on this new year.  No matter where you’re from or who you are, it shouldn’t be weird to tell someone you care about how you feel.

Happy New Year!

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!