Archive for Vo Nguyen Giap Funeral

A Very Late Eulogy for General Vo Nguyen Giap

Posted in IV. Columns, Politics with tags , , on December 21, 2013 by Ian Pham

VNGI’ve written about the death of Vo Nguyen Giap before. Only the last time, it was by mistake and he was very much alive (just horribly ill in the hospital… oops). Well, this time I made sure of it that he was actually dead before writing his eulogy (it’s just common courtesy. I am a gentleman, you guys).

Since I’ve said what I generally wanted to say about General Giap in that accidental eulogy that I wrote a few years ago, and let’s be honest here, there are much more pressing matters at hand right now in current affairs that I must cover, I’ll keep this one brief.

Vo Nguyen Giap was a fighter who fought against the French to help liberate Vietnam from the European country’s colonialist endeavors (or what I like to call, France’s vestige of empire). He then fought against America in what was believed to be another case of imperialist imposition on a small but resilient nation. He definitely deserves commendation against the French, but in the case of America, I’ll just leave it as controversial.

As a postwar leader, I’m disappointed to say, Vo Nguyen Giap was too politically inept to save Vietnam from social deterioration at the hands of the party. Marginalized by Le Duan in the 1970’s, General Giap’s mythical stature protected him from political execution. From then on, all the way to November of this year in 2013, the general continued to be respected, but was powerless, holding zero actual sway within the Communist Party.

I do give him a modest amount of respect because of his courage and military service on behalf of Vietnam. He was also the man who openly opposed the policies of the idiots in Vietnamese government today. However, the general’s greatest weakness is that he was, first and foremost, a soldier. He knew how to fight, he knew how to follow orders and carry them out diligently, but as a statesman and a politician, he had no chance.

VNGfuneralIn my eyes, Vo Nguyen Giap was a patriot. He fought for Vietnam, and in the end, he died for Vietnam. However, in the grander scheme of things, he chose the wrong side in the struggle, and in the end, was unable to stop the country from deteriorating into the international joke that it is today. He had courage, and he had a good heart. But he was also weak politically, was molded and marginalized, used and abused by the more vicious political minds within that communist system. Therefore, my take on the late general is of a bittersweet nature.

When all is said and done, despite his shortcomings, General Vo Nguyen Giap was a man that gave himself for his country. Therefore, I bid him a clean and respectful farewell.

To the late general, a salute.

…. To the rest of the Communist Party, a single finger salute. Hiyooo!

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