As someone who campaigned against the criminal American war in Vietnam, and has now lived here for eight years, this article gives an erroneous and unfair view of Vietnam today. As anyone who cares to visit or lives here can see every day, there is in fact more religious freedom today than ever before in Vietnam’s history, including in the days when the French or American influences prevailed here. The law and constitution of Vietnam guarantee both freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Most of the world’s religions are freely practiced here in increasing numbers, plus Vietnam has religions unique to this country. Of course, if people break civil laws, even using the guise of religion, they are subject to the criminal code, as in any country.
It is also true that democratic elections, with compulsory voting, are held every five years. Candidates can include independents as well as Party members. A positive discrimination program means that Vietnam has achieved the highest percentage of women elected to public office in Asia, and second only to New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific. Ethnic minority representation in the National Assembly equals their percentage in society. The National Assembly is no rubber stamp, and grassroots democracy is encouraged at all levels of society.
There is more real democracy and spiritualism here than “outsiders” understand. Other countries should get their own houses in order before casting stones against others’. In so many ways, the reality of life in Vietnam is so vastly different from the anti-Vietnam propaganda so common in the West. Instead of pandering to the propaganda of the warmongers who have never answered for their crimes against Vietnam, your “antiwar” Web site should give readers a more balanced, sympathetic view of the realities of Vietnam, which should be commended for making remarkable changes and developments after so many decades of brutal war.
But don’t believe me please visit and see for yourself!
Leon Hadar replies:
Dear Mr. McPhie:
Thanks to the Internet, we have access today to many resources that provide us with a balanced perspective of what’s happening in the world, including in Vietnam. I suggest that readers take a look at the most recent Amnesty Report which has been very critical of the Bush administration’s human rights conduct on the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Here is a summary:
“The human rights situation worsened in the Central Highlands following demonstrations by members of ethnic minority groups (Montagnards) in April. The ensuing government crackdown resulted in the deaths of at least eight protesters and many injured. This was followed by tight government controls on access and communications with the region. Freedom of expression nationally remained severely limited. Trials of political dissidents continued throughout 2004. Repression of religious denominations not sanctioned by the state continued. A high number of death sentences and executions were reported.”
In a piece published today [June 29, 2005], Justin Raimondo confirms that David Aaronovitch is engaged in smear and defamation. And yet, three lines down, Raimondo himself endorses Aaronovitch’s Zionist misreading of my own text. If Raimondo is so convinced that Aaronovitch is not telling the truth about himself, why is he that enthusiastic to accept Aaronovitch’s interpretation of my text?
I would expect more integrity and critical faculties from an antiwar campaigner.
I will make it very clear: nothing that Aaronovitch is saying about me in The Times is correct, and even my quotes are taken out of context. This issue is now in the hands of my legal advisers. I would expect Raimondo to engage himself in a quick research before he allies with Aaronovitch.
Anyhow, if Raimondo read any of my texts and wants to challenge any of my ideas, I will be delighted to address his criticism. But to learn my thoughts from Aaronovitch is categorically the worst option around.
Just for the reference:
Here is a link to the paper misquoted by Aaronovitch: http://www.gilad.co.uk/html%20files/onanti.html.
A link to the SWP statement re their ideological approval of my writings and thoughts: http://www.swp.org.uk/gilad.php.
I appreciate Mr. Paul Craig Roberts’ telling it like it is. Republicans have to remember that we pledge our allegiance to our country and not to Mr. Bush and the Republican Party. We must also remember that the words “one nation under God” have to have some real meaning when we pledge our allegiance. God does not bless wars! Certainly not this war! Mr. Bush is not “God’s messenger,” and he and those Americans who believe he is blaspheme God. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is God’s messenger, not Mr. Bush! In Bloomington, Ind., at a peace vigil, I saw an elderly, very distinguished looking gentleman with his sign showing the captive inmate on a box, hooded and with electrodes attached. The sign said, “Who would Jesus torture?” Think about that, Rush.
A different perspective is also required here. Consider this:
In what columnist David Ignatius calls the “signature line” of her speech at The American University in Cairo, Rice declared: “For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course.”
Translated into English, Rice’s comments read thus: We meddled into your affairs for 60 years and we stuffed it up, and now we are going to continue meddling in your affairs but in a different way.
The U.S. is always going to be in deep doggie-doo until it realizes that the rest of the world just wishes you would stop meddling. Foreign policy is about dealing with the rest of the world, not meddling with the rest of the world.
I think Antiwar.com needs to know about the new Libertarian exit strategy for Iraq. Unlike Democrats who supported and voted for the war, the vast majority of Libertarians were against this war from the beginning.
This is the first policy proposal advanced by any political party in the U.S. that spells out in detail how to disengage ourselves without putting our troops in more harm, and as such it is worthy of discussion by Antiwar.com readers.
You can find the Libertarian Party Iraq exit strategy here: “Libertarian Party Offers A Real Plan for Iraq.”
The Louisiana Activist Network has moved on to its next project: to organize a PEACE TRAIN from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., picking up activist groups across the South, on our way to a mass rally gathered together to represent the solid antiwar majority right in the government’s own backyard on September 24, 2005.
Southern activists who wish to get in on this event should start talking to us by clicking here.
The train leaves New Orleans early on September 22nd.
This could be an incredible life experience. …
Join us in Washington for the mass antiwar rally on September 24, 2005.
Headquarters for the Louisiana Activist Network during the three day (Friday, September 23 through Monday, September 26, 2005) Washington D.C. action will be:
WASHINGTON-CAPITOL HOLIDAY INN
550 C STREET SW
WASHINGTON, DC 20024
LOCAL PHONE: 1-202-4794000
(Rooms are still available)
Events and contact numbers will be continuously posted, both before and during the weekend, on our home page and our message board.
For more information regarding the proposed events in Washington, D.C.: United for Peace & Justice.
~ Annie & Buddy Spell