Vietnam - A New Battle
Washington DC, April 30, 2001
Amidst swift changes around the world in the early 90s, facing the risk of losing total control, the Vietnamese communists were forced to abolish the command economy. Realizing that a market economy could lead to the collapse of the communist regime, they have refused to change politically and only reformed economically. They still value the existence of the communist party over the happiness and freedom for our people and Vietnamís own good. Our peopleís lives have been improved only superficially and temporarily while Vietnam remains a stalemate with no permanent and stable opportunities for development.
Our human kind has embarked into the third millennium, a millennium for Pacific Asia. All issues in economics, politics and security in North and South East Asia will be the top priority international issues for the next decades. The Vietnamese people, both inside and outside the country, are presented with another opportunity to replace the totalitarian and backward regime with a democratic, lawful one that will tap into our peopleís fullest potentials and help Vietnam catch up with the advancement and prosperity around the world.
In January 1989, when I was still in Vietnam, my comrades and I secretly published the Freedom Forum newsletters to begin a political campaign for freedom and democracy for Vietnam. I asserted that a new battle had begun Ė a battle against totalitarianism, poverty and backwardness - a battle for democracy, prosperity and progress. In this battle, on the one side, we have the minority totalitarian government and the other, the dominated people. There will be only one eventual winner: the Vietnamese people, the truth and justice and the loser: the communist doctrinarian, totalitarian, unjust and backward party.
The battle for democracy and human rights has been intensified. The Vietnamese communist leaders grow more and more passive. The globalization in economy, commerce, culture and politics is crushing all isolated and totalitarian political and cultural systems around the world. The battle for a prosperous, democratic Vietnam has embarked on a new phase: a phase of open and direct confrontation with the communist leaders. In this phase, an all-rounded democratic front is being formed. We need to utilize effective and practical methods appropriate with the humanist trends around the world to combine the strengths of the Vietnamese people inside the country with those overseas, the strengths of Vietnam with international support, the strengths of free market economy with humanist culture and politics of democracy. This new battle will lead the communist leaders to a final option: either allowing democratization and returning to the people the rights to determine their countryís fate, or losing total power in violence.
In this new battle, there are many advantages for the Vietnamese overseas. While the communist government controls all activities and organizations inside the country, the Vietnamese overseas freely and automatically establish hundreds of different organizations to satisfy their own needs and tastes: from education and military school alumni groups to social service organizations, and professional societies for doctors, engineers, lawyers etc. Furthermore, there are Vietnamese community organizations representing almost 3 million Vietnamese overseas in 70 countries. Without coordination, the Vietnamese overseas all over the world act and organize in almost identical manners. There seems to be a Vietnam in exile, without national border but still united, with a common language and identical social and civil activities. The Vietnamese cultural and social traditions are still maintained outside the country. While the Vietnamese inside the country are controlled and influenced by the government, the Vietnamese overseas enjoy total freedom in the activities of their own tastes and abilities.
Today, with the pressure of globalization and social and economic problems within the country, the communists are forced to open up to the world. The Vietnamese overseas are presented with the opportunity to influence directly Vietnam through voluntary activities and organizations. The direct connection between the Vietnamese within the country and those overseas, without going through or working with the government, is creating useful opportunities for developing a civil society, the base for democracy, and weakening and isolating the communist government from the rest of the people. The battle for human rights and democracy by the Vietnamese overseas will produce faster results if they take advantage of their various non-governmental and civil activities that impact Vietnam in business, culture, arts, communication, education, charity and even politics. These people-to-people activities without going through and working with the government in all 3 economic, cultural and political aspects will help the people inside Vietnam gain their strengths and power first economically, second culturally and finally, when the time comes, politically. The Vietnamese overseas, especially the young generation (because the Vietnamese domestic population is currently very young) should follow the civil and humanist traditions with Vietnamese values, using the potentials of all civil organizations overseas, and work with the Vietnamese in Vietnam, without going through and working with the communist government, to form a new society gradually, a Vietnamese Mass, separated and progressively confronted with the Governing Communists. Mobilizing international support in this Right vs. Wrong battle against communist legitimacy, the building of this Vietnamese Mass without borders between inside and outside the country will create a modern force, both national and global, together with global progress and development, tapping into the potentials of the people in Vietnam. By doing that, we build momentums to not only replace the current communist regime, but also stimulate progress for Vietnam to catch up with the world.
Vietnamís fate lies in the hands of the people. The political power must be returned to the people. Vietnamís future is dependent on active participation of all classes of people, especially youth. A new Vietnam must be build by the self-control, self-awareness and voluntary actions by everyone, by every young Vietnamese, both inside and outside the country. In the battle for the right to determine Vietnamís fate, all Vietnamese should take part with tolerance, belief and courage. We should tolerate political and ideological differences, believe in Vietnamís potential strengths and modern humanist trends and be courageous in overcoming obstacles to Vietnamís well-being and basic human rights.
With national tolerance, humanist belief, political courage and complete action, a new era will begin and Vietnam will be revived.