Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reading Material for our Trip to Vietnam

While in Battambang, NW Cambodia, when we got our Vietnamese visa, one of the embassy officials gave us a very thick book as a gift. It explained the country and culture and economy. When we started to read it, we were quite taken aback by the attitude towards the French. This was an official book called "Vietnam: from past to future" and blatantly expressed the anger that the Vietnamese felt towards their past colonizers. Julane expected that there would be anger towards the Americans after the brutal Vietnam War, but it seemed more to emphasize the build up towards this war instead.

The man who gave us the book first checked and returned our passports to us…perhaps to make sure that we weren’t French?

We have copied a few pages here for you to read.

Vietnam: from Past to Future – an extract from the first few pages:

Declaration of independence

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, made at the time of the French Revolution, in 1791, also states: “All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights.”

Those are undeniable truths.
Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperialist, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow-citizens. They have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice.

Politically, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.

They have enforced inhuman laws; they have setup three different political regimens in the North, Center and the South of Viet Nam in order to wreck our country’s oneness and prevent our people form being united.

They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly massacred our patriots. They have drowned our uprising in seas of blood.

They have fretted public opinion and practiced obscurantism.

They have weakened our race with opium and alcohol.

In the fields of economics, they have sucked us dry. Driven our people to destitution and devastated our land.

They have robbed us of our rice-fields, our mines, our forests and our natural resources. They have monopolized the issue of bank-notes and the import and export trade.

They have invented numerous unjustifiable taxes and reduced our people, especially our peasantry, to extreme poverty.

They have made it impossible for our national bourgeoisie to prosper; they have mercilessly exploited our workers.

In the autumn of 1940, when the Japanese fascists invaded Indochina to establish new bases against the Allies, the French colonialists went down on their bent knees and opened the door of our country to welcome the Japanese in.

Thus, from that date, our people were subjected to the double yoke of the French and the Japanese. Their sufferings and miseries increased. The result was that more than two million of our fellow-citizens died from starvation.

During this period, the French troops were disarmed by the Japanese. The French colonialists either fled or surrendered, showing that not only were they incapable of “protecting” us, but that, in a period of five years, they had twice sold our country to the Japanese.

In spite of all this, our fellow-citizens have always manifested a lenient and humane attitude forwards the French. After the Japanese putsch of March 9, 1945, the Viet Minh helped many Frenchmen to cross the frontier, rescued others from Japanese jails and protected French lives and property. In fact, since the autumn of 1940, our country had ceased to be a French colony and had become a Japanese possession.

When the Japanese surrendered to the Allies, out entire people rose to gain power and founded the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam.

The truth is that we have wrested our independence from the Japanese, not from the French.

The French have fled, the Japanese have capitulated, Emperor Bao Dai has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which have fettered them from nearly a century and have won independence for Viet Nam. At the same time they have overthrown the centuries-old monarchic regime and established a democratic republican regime.

This if for real, all above are direct quotes from the book:
  - here a link to the official publisher
  - and here the full version of the declaration of independence