Who is Ho Chi? Hanoi, Vietnam.

10 Dec

Governor's Palace. Built by the French.

A quick recap of Day 1 of touring in Hanoi…

Ang picked up the Norwegian, Tour-Burn, and I bright and early to do Hanoi – four or five hours of walking through air conditioned buildings here we come….

The first stop was the Governor’s mansion.   Ang talked.  Pictures say it all.  It’s huge.  French.  Palatial.  Beautiful.  And, French.  That was all I remember.

Next stop, was Ho Chi Minh’s tomb.

Ang instructed us to get into line.  He said, “Follow the people. I met you on other side…”  I assumed, Ang was over the museum tours.  I get it.  I’ve been doing this for 45 mins, and already feel my mind turning to mush.  It’s information overload.

The more the lined move, the more soldiers greeted us with stern looks.  I turned to Tour-Burn, “Waaaait.. We are at a tomb.  Does this mean we’re seeing dead people?  Are we lining up to see a Ho Chi?”

Tour-Burn nodded like, “duh!”   Sooo, not up for this.  But, what was I going to do. The line moved forward. Mostly Chinese and French tourists.

The V-nam soldiers were militant in making sure the tourists were in a single file line, with arms at our sides.  NO talking, no hats, no pushing…  I was behind some French folks who paid no attention to the rules.  They got whacked by V-nam military man.  I mean, whacked the man’s arms because they were not at his side.  Another V-nam military man pointed at French woman’s mouth for talking.

Where are we?

Tour-Burn and I walked in. Dead Ho Chi is laid out in a glass case.  He does not look like he’s “resting in peace.”  There were four young military men guarding his glass tomb.  I was more interesting in their expressions, than the Dead Ho Chi.  They’re eyes starred straight forward.  Body erect. No movement. Talk about a bad job. I wonder if this post is a punishment or an honor. They stand there for an hour or two, then relieved from their post, according to Ang.

Ho Chi Minh has moved up to saint-hood in Vietnam, like Mao, Lenin, Stalin and the rest of the communist dictators who killed, bribed and blackmailed to get what they wanted. Though, Ho Chi seemed a little different.  He tried to live out his ideal –  “equality for all” and “for the people.” For example, he refused to live in fancy French Governor’s mansion and built a bamboo house on stilts on the mansion’s grounds.   He wanted to show the people he was serious — he lived like them, not like a king.

Who’s Ho Chi?

I found out that you need to get an idea of this Ho Chi Minh if you are going to understand the Vietnamese people or the V-nam War.  I don’t recall ever studying Mr. ho Chi in High School.  That being said, I don’t remember the periodic table either or the square root of Pi.

Ho Chi was a smart man. He morphed into becoming a communist for many reasons, one in particular was his  failed attempts to get America’s attention.  He reached out for help, and we said, “Uhhh…don’t think so.”   Yep…that’s right. We did our part in creating another fascist despot….

Ho Chi’s quick soundbite is he led the V-nam communist/nationalist movement for 30 years.  He fought and defeated the Japanese, French and US-backed South Vietnamese and  became president of NORTH Vietnam from 1954 and until his death and embalming in 1969.

If we go deeper, we learn he is an educated, well-traveled man. After he graduated from university, he worked as a teacher and then a cook aboard a French steam ship.  Later, he did odd jobs like a photo retoucher before Adobe photo-shop.

And, when not working and traveling, he inhaled all books about socialism, communism and history from the greats. He lived in USA, England, China, USSR and France. In France, he was one of the founding members of the French communist party. Nice….

Well, rumor has it requested a meeting with Woodrow Wilson, while the Prez was in France signing the treating to end World World I.

Ho Chi intent was to obtain US help in booting out the French for they were abusing V-nam.  Prez. Wilson declined the invitation.  Hind Sight 20/20, you have to wonder how V-nam would have been different today if Wilson had the meeting…

Ho Chi Minh accepted the rejection and established the French Communist Party.  Ho Chi Minh is quoted as saying, “It was patriotism, NOT communism, that inspired me.”  Yea, and being shafted by the US government…

Next on the docket of Ho Chi was he jumped to Moscow to learn how to “liberate people,” from an organization created by Lenin.  He soon became a spy for USSR. Then, headed to China and formed another communist party to help V-nam become independent from French control.

He was arrested by the Brits in Hong Kong.  Served 2 years.  And, went back to the land of Red – China – to serve as an adviser to the Red Army.

In his spare time, he built of V-nam communism support to kick out the French.    His followers – or soldiers – later became known as the Viet Cong.

WW II happened.  And the karaoke loving Japanese invaded Indo-China (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) claiming to be French liberators.  PSYCH!  Instead, the jovial Japanese turned into ostentatious occupiers.  Ho Chi was not a happy camper and ramped up V-nam resistance to kick out all occupiers.

Ho Chi knocked on the Land of the Free – America – one more time.  He was seeking assistance to boot the Japanese and help to make V-nam independent. But, his invitation was declined, again…. So, Ho Chi ramped it up another notch and killed, maimed and injured the occupiers.  Japan relinquished control of V-nam in 1945.

After WWII, France was poor and reeling from the war but they refused to give up V-nam.

War broke out between the French and Vietnamese.

Ho Chi said he will not stop until France is out.  V-nam jungle warfare in its infancy…

Finally, an agreement was made and endorsed by France, Britain, China, Soviet Union and US.  It split V-nam in half – like Korea – into the North and South. North was controlled by Ho Chi, the communist – and backed by USSR.  China was not happy about this… And, non-communist south became a democracy.

South Vietnam was screwy.   Weak.  And, under poor management.  President Dwight Eisenhower sent direct aid to South Vietnam’s government starting in 1954 for Ho Chi – supported by the USSR – was making in roads into South Vietnam.

Ho Chi was out for blood.  He ramped up killings in the south, assassinating over 40,000 civilians – government officials, intellectuals…. South V-nam responded by arresting anyone who may be a communist. They eliminated about 20,000+.

Around 1959, V-nam was on the break of a full-fledged CIVIL WAR, which they later refer to as the AMERICAN war.  Did NOT learn that in history… That’s right.

Vietnam calls  call THEIR civil war the American War.  Guess they learned revisionist history from the Russians…

Focus.  Around 1961, President Kennedy sent more aid to S. V-nam, providing  millions in military equipment for S. Vietnamese troops. Later that year, US military  started to train  S. Vietnamese military to annihilate, asphyxiate, and assassinate North V-nam army, the Viet Cong.

The people in the “know” claimed Kennedy  wanted to pull out later that year, but was assassinated before he could implement his program. Then, came Johnson…

USSR was funding Viet Cong. US funding S. V-nam.  Meanwhile, around 1965 S. V-nam becomes destabilized with a series of government coups. In essence, no one was minding the store in S. Vietnam.    Because of the destabilization, US sent more troops and money as does Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea and Philippines to help S. Vietnam troops.

We know the rest of the story. We get more and more involved, for we are now fully engaged in a civil war to stop the spread of communism in a place where majority of Americans can’t locate on a map. War spreads to Cambodia and Laos, for Ho Chi convinced these countries to house Viet Cong guerrillas.

Ho Chi’s people also convinces Pol Pot, Cambodia’s  Rouge Leader who later killed 1/4 of his country’s population , that if he played nice, Pol Pot can have Saigon – South Vietnam’s capital.  Pol Pot agreed.  Viet Cong troops use Southern Cambodia to attack US troops and S. Vietnamese troops in Saigon.

Ho Chi dies in 1969. Nixon is elected on “a plan to stop war.” Has no plan. War escalates. Americans are angry. It was this anger and politics that forced the US to pull out.   It was not until 1973, a treaty was signed for all US troops to be withdrawn. We left as fast as possible.

Once US pulled out, then Communist ate the south and killed S. V-nam troops, intellectuals, government officials – anyone who is against Communist.  Saigon never went to Cambodia.  The communist changed the S. V-nam’s capital name to Ho Chi Minh in 1975.  Communist — or the North – have  full control of V-nam by 1976.

So, N. V-nam eliminated all “capitalists” by sending them to “re-education” or death camps.  Other S. V-name people were forced to relocate from urban to rural areas to become farmers. Around 70,000 S. V-nam were executed and over 100,000 die in camps.

Estimates say one-million South V-nam fled their homeland during this time. US welcomed many – CELEBRATE Nail technicians and V-nam restaurants NOW! So, next time you’re getting your toes done, ask the older ladies where they are from. I bet they are from S. Vietnam.  Ask them about their stories…

Anyway, US imposes an embargo and severs any diplomatic relations with Vietnam.  USSR funds V-nam. It wasn’t until USSR declared bankruptcy and communism “fell” that V-nam turned from “equality for all communist” to “capitalism for all communist.”

In 1994, US lifts trade embargo. Clinton visits in 2000. In 2005, Vietnamese communist Prime Minister visits US for the first time since end of V-nam war and meets with US President George Bush to talk trade and relationships. Now, US is V-nams biggest trading partner, with US$7 billion+ in V-name exports to US.

With this information, you’re now a wanna-be expert on V-nam. I did not know ANY of this until I entered this country.  (Don’t tell!  I’m embarrassed..)

I just thought – well, nothing.  Never gave the V-nam war details a thought. But, understanding V-nam history puts the whole country and its people in proper context.

It’s a new country. New to capitalism. Young. Vibrant. Creative. It’s says it’s still communist – one party – but its people are slowly changing it. They speak up. Scream.  Write graffiti. And, think, unlike the Chinese.  Give it time.  Just give it time…

*Information came from conversations and Wikipedia.

2 Responses to “Who is Ho Chi? Hanoi, Vietnam.”

  1. Allison 12/12/2010 at 4:00 pm #

    You are getting seriously big brained A Day. Love it.

    • susan 22/01/2011 at 10:42 pm #

      You prove daily.. I know nothing