April 30 and the Vietnamese Overseas

Note: This article was written and posted last year. …My thoughts are still the same so here it goes. PV

Each April , the last hours of former South Vietnam and subsequent tragedies after April 30 th, 1975, vividly return and are replayed over and over in our minds . We reflect upon the past and contrast  to the current condition/ situations: Remembering countless painful separations , the ultimate losses , how our relatives were tortured physically, emotionally, psychologically and mentally in forced labor camps all over the country, along with boat people who were robbed , raped , and killed while crossing the treacherous seas in search for freedom ; remembering how our beloved, deceased relatives’ tombs were excavated from the cemetery and realizing, from fully documented, the brutal situation of present VN with downhill moral values , catastrophically corrupted failures,  few of us would  be able to carry on without feeling the recurring brutal pain, choking back the tears and controlling our anguished heart…

If one could just focus on prosperity , diplomas, fame, materialistic success gained from a new life , perhaps he/she would not have agonized as much … but once labeled as a ” political refugee” , he/she would most likely sigh in deep reflection at the thought of April 30th, 1975! That infamous day when south VN, a country endowed with  men bravely sacrificing for their motherland, with young widows giving up their own happiness to raise their small children, was abandoned, forced into immense misery and eternal desolation….

After nearly four decades , the people on” the winning side ” has been very successful in ” thought reforming ” , converting South  VN into a place where integrity and honor are now abstract luxuries that are on the verge of extinction among the “scholars and intellectuals “. Societal degradation, pervasive corruption, and morals have been turned upside down. The people feeling disgusted at, and mistrusting, their government beyond repair … Next to millions of  hungry, mournful people , lie brazen rulers,  enjoy extravagant brandishing with money from selling parts of the country to Communist China, exporting people as goods and downright robing millions of landless farmers, destitute peasants .

The agonizing question for nearly 40 years for many expatriates” What should we do to contribute to the movement for democracy for VN ?” , has probably been the headline/subject of public press conferences, open and closed forums/ meetings by Vietnamese people all over the world . Truth be told, however, the quest for human rights, justice, democratic freedom can not legally come from the Diaspora . We can only provide mental support to those in Vietnam who are fighting for and demanding their basic human rights and freedom. Only people in Vietnam are qualified to voice, from the heart, their yearning resulted from their firsthand experience of continuous sufferings …. When we left the country, some of us looked back to our homeland, hoping, pledging that we would do something to save our beloved motherland from the fatalistic curse of communism, so we wouldn’t feel guilty seeking freedom. However, that dream has been increasingly evolved, with mundane activities and necessary duties to be performed in everyday life, with the limitations of distant geography, and our own changing political powers, changing residency status,  pushing it farther and farther away as the years went by.

The Vietnamese overseas- perhaps more than ever- need to have discernment about their stance on the current international scene. These super powers have had and will continue to control the outcome of any economic dealings, so that any policy change/ exchange must first be beneficial for their own country, under the direction of individuals who have money, controlling from behind all the government machinery worldwide . And we need to be extremely vigilant and keenly aware of the attempts under the banner of “cultural exchange “, covering up the crimes of the Vietnamese communist party, and most of all, the plans of dealing business, smoothly termed ” reconciliation “, for no other purposes than consolidating the rulers’ power and wealth – stolen from the Vietnamese people- by their cunning, lying, ruthless regime.

In my humble opinion,  the most effective means of contributing by the Vietnamese overseas to democracy in VN  is modeling positively engaging behavior, instilling wisdom in the way of parenting, practicing their civic duty , with the surrounding Vietnamese community as well as within the mainstream society, so that we can proudly face everyone without any inferior feeling, identity crisis about being Vietnamese . It is important to create , maintain and promote the trust and  pride among the younger generation of Vietnamese Americans , so that our children and grandchildren will not have the opportunity to question , criticizing their elders in the Vietnamese community as being contradictory, selfish, not much better than those who are in power in VN, since we are inconsistent in our fight, or deemed indifferent to social evils , injustice , violations of human rights, however small they are, on the countries we now reside …

When we demand fairness, human rights for people who are voiceless, right here on the nations considered relatively free and profoundly democratic; when  we treat each other with sincerity, humanity, in our current communities, we have unfurled the banner of justice , contrasting the extremely immoral, inhuman, irrational, brutal world that has plagued our motherland . Only after having done all that, could we then expect to have a strong, unified voice, backed up by the younger Vietnamese Americans-born and raised on a society with relatively true freedom and democracy- and earning their respect… Young Vietnamese living in VN and engaged in the struggle for a more humane and just nation would understand more clearly why we had to leave our homeland, they will be able to appreciate and participate, willingly march along our stance: that human rights are thoroughly respected, ingrained in our thoughts on any given day, at all levels, and that our actions align well with our unwavering fight against inequality and injustice when we live in an atmosphere of true freedom and democracy …

As for the fight for human rights in VN – or anywhere in the world for that matter, a stark reality check is guaranteed; that, human rights is but a political card on the gamble table of the involved countries attempting to trade,  through ” partnerships , and economic development ” projects, or approving for VN to jump on board with some committee or certain trading organizations on the world stage. Always, the final decision resides with those controlling every form of government throughout the world with their money. Thus, young people aspiring to step up, galvanizing the people and rescuing Vietnam out of its demise need to have a thorough knowledge of Vietnamese history and its position on the political map in the global economy. They will have to diligently acquire substantial, humanely useful knowledge, and patiently cultivate the will in rebuilding a young, new Vietnamese generation that is  mature, well equipped,  firmly resolved in the ideal of rebuilding their own beautiful country, representing the spirit of indomitable Vietnamese ancestry, imprinted forever on the mountains and in the rivers, as children of the Fairy and the Dragon. . Only then, the Vietnamese everywhere will no longer have to sigh and mourn the fate of being a small/ weak/ used country. We then will no longer need to bend backward, following the beckons and being manipulated by the more powerful countries . There will be no more agonizing over the fate of our most voiceless, forgotten, mistreated people .

Our nation has more than four thousand years of national building history, the indomitable spirit of our founding fathers is still there, and Vietnam eventually, definitely, will escape this current dark phase in history. No one and nothing would ever have enough power to completely destroy that. Communism, forced onto the people by the VC, with its evil effects upon Viet Nam, is just a temporary phase, a horrible illness , a disaster for the people and our country , and ” it too shall pass away “, it will sooner or later die off . When the time is right, there will be a large populate, ready to take charge , enabling drastic changes in VN for the better.  With enough national pride in Vietnam’s incredible history, along with the willingness of many common people to sacrifice for a clear and clean change in VN, and with the current rulers fleeing away to save themselves , freedom and democracy will no longer be an unattainable dream, something out of reach…

Phuong M. Vo

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