A few months ago I had the opportunity to speak with some young people in Ha Noi who care about the future of their country. They shared with me their dream of contributing to the development of their country. They are young people interested in exploring ideas and possibilities.
They are bright, enthusiastic, and warm. They are non-violent. And they want a brighter future for their country.
Yes, they are worried about the condition their country finds itself in. And yes, many of them take seriously ideas that the Communist Party of Viet Nam has yet to accept or flat out rejects.
But how, I ask, can a state whose motto is Freedom – Independence – Happiness, engage in the kind of violent behavior we have seen in recent days, which have seen a number of these youngsters rounded up and subject to mental and physical abuse?
At a time when Viet Nam aims to cultivate closer ties and foster greater understanding of Viet Nam and to promote more effective international partnerships, what is to be gained from this sort of behavior?
Are harsh, repressive tactics really the best way to earn the trust of the community of nations, China excepted?
And what is desired of these young patriots? Would the state simply like them to stop thinking about politics and power? Lastly, how should the students respond? Should that fight back to lawsuits, knowing that Viet Nam’s legal system and judiciary will likely not grant them a fair chance, but knowing also they might bring well deserved shame on to Viet Nam’s leaders?
Or should they simply accept that their country is one ruled by a single party that will not accept criticism.
That they should go forward in the remaining decades of their life like brainwashed children incapable of critical thinking and with zero contributions to the development of their country?
A consistent feature of brutal police states is are that, in addition to being violent and dangerous, they tend to be stupid and clumsy. Conservative elements within the regime’s recent arrests and beatings of young people in Ha Noi may well create political opportunities that will hasten their own demise.
Eighty seven years have past since the death of Phan Chu Trinh with Viet Nam still under French colonial rule. What would he think about the behavior of Viet Nam’s state today? What would he think about the “Independence – Freedom – Happiness” of Viet Nam in 2013?
In just two weeks Viet Nam will celebrate its independence. But what does independence really mean of Vietnamese cannot enjoy basic freedoms?
I have been research Viet Nam for 20 years. I have many friends in all parts of the party and state. But I have reached a point where I cannot stand by silently and watch that state continue to promote a society in which compliance with oppressive ideas is placed above basic human dignities. I believe others who care about Viet Nam should also speak out.
I welcome any comments to this post. My intentions are only the best.