Vo Nguyen Giap Turns 100… Again

So… Approximately 365 days ago, a congratulatory article was written to honor General Vo Nguyen Giap on his 100th birthday.  I bet you’re wondering why one year later, we’re talking about his 100th birthday again.  Well, it’s not as odd as it appears, as you will now see.  In Vietnam, a newborn child is considered one year old as soon as he or she is born. There is infancy, but there is no zero age.  Therefore, when counting one’s age in Vietnamese years, it is, more often than not, one year ahead of what it is in the west.  That is why I’m writing this article, to commemorate General Vo Nguyen Giap on his birthday of 100 western years.

Why am I even writing an article paying respects to Vo Nguyen Giap?  He’s a Communist, that makes him bad, right?  Not exactly.  It is true that he was a major contributor to North Vietnam’s victory over the U.S.A., right hand man to the evil Ho Chi Minh, and a founding member of the Communist Party.  Despite all this, it is debatable that he was different from the other leaders, both in policy and vision.

Of all the members in the old Communist Party, I can only recall one leader who may have had Vietnam’s interest in mind.  That man is Vo Nguyen Giap.  After the Northern takeover of all of Vietnam, Le Duan, the General Secretary, wanted to impose a policy of revenge and retribution against the remnants of South Vietnam’s population and the U.S., something that Vo Nguyen Giap strongly opposed.  Unlike Le Duan, Giap wanted to fix relations with the United States quickly, pacify the survivors of South Vietnam, and move the country forward.  He saw Vietnam’s potential, and wanted to utilize it.  However, Le Duan was much to stubborn, bitter, and devious to let this happen.  He wanted Communism, pure Communism, nothing else.  As a result, Vo Nguyen Giap was politically marginalized by Le Duan and his conspirators, ousted from the political centre of the Party.

Today, Vo Nguyen Giap is the one clear voice in the Communist Party who openly opposes Chinese expansionism.  He is the only name who is unafraid to challenge the treasonous acts of some of the major members of todays Communist Party and tell the Chinese Communist Party that what they are doing is intolerable.  It is just a shame that others within the Party don’t follow his example.  He was, and still is, a courageous man. The only one in the Communist Party who had a different, more constructive vision of what Vietnam could be.  If he came out victorious against Le Duan in the power struggle, the country might have moved in a very different direction.  For this reason, I feel the need to recognize that, and commemorate the one member of the Communist Party who is not a corrupted, cowardly, and mentally challenged despot.  So for the second time, I wish General Vo Nguyen Giap a Happy 100th Birthday.

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