Archive for Vo Nguyen Giap

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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Vo Nguyen Giap Turns 100… Again

Posted in IV. Columns, Modern History, Politics with tags , on August 25, 2011 by Ian Pham

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.

Oops! General Giap is Still Alive, Turns 100 Today!

Posted in IV. Columns, Politics with tags on August 25, 2010 by Ian Pham

Five months ago, I wrote an article to commerate the life of General Vo Nguyen Giap, one of the original members of the Vietnamese Communist Party.  Recently however, I discovered that he is very much alive, and that he is turning 100 years old today!

General Giap is one of the few members of the Communist Party that I have a lot of respect for.   He was a patriot, joining Ho Chi Minh for the sake of Vietnam and not for the sake of Communism.  As the more enlightened member of the Communist Party, he advocated normalizing relations with the U.S. after the war, as well as utilizing the talented manpower of South Vietnam.  Sadly, he was politically out-maneuvered by Le Duan and marginalized to the Department of Womens’ Health.

Even so, General Giap stays resilient, voicing his disapproval for the crimes of Nong Duc Manh and Nguyen Tan Dung, the current rulers of Vietnam today.  For someone who has lived for so long, it is amazing to me how he can still think so clearly.  I simply feel the need to correct my own mistake and clarify that Vo Nguyen Giap is still alive.  I also want to wish General Giap a happy 100th birthday, he deserves it.

In Memory of General Giap

Posted in Modern History, Politics with tags , on April 1, 2010 by Ian Pham

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.