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Máu & Nước Mắt Trên Lưng Trường Sơn - bản Anh ngữ
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Blood & Tears on Truong Son Mountain’ Back
By Hai Trieu & The Vietnamese Military Writers Group
The English Edition is the accomplishment of Friends of Thu Vien Toan Cau (www.tvvn.org)
"Blood and Tears on Truong Son Mountain’s Back" depicts the hardship, the numerous adversities that fell like the monsoon rain on hills and mountains of "East Trương Son - West Trường Son" along the Lao-Viet border, of thousands of youths from the North, being sent from their villages to the war front known as Battlefield B in South Vietnam. When confronted with the brutal truth on battlefields in the South, the many tears falling on East and West Trương Son were not the same. The tears of the soldier named Huyen Tran in the poems "To Mother" were clearly not those of Dang Thuy Tram in the mountainous area of Duc Pho, Quang Ngai.
This book, "Blood and Tears on Truong Son Mountain’s Back" is presented and aimed squarely at the Vietnamese Politburo and its socialist regime. Dang Thuy Tram is a victim of this regime, not our "target." From a humanistic standpoint, we honor Tram’s idealistic view, her patriotism and her candidness. We simply want to prevent its misuse as propaganda to the American public and to the Vietnamese by Hanoi and its American anti-war allies.
We will make every effort to unmask the true intention of the Vietnamese Politburo so that America and the world know the truth and the real face of the Hanoi regime. We are publishing "Blood and Tears on Truong Son Mountain’s Back" in English, French, and Vietnamese so that readers - especially the younger Vietnamese generations living abroad – know what really happened in Vietnam, the place we call our homeland.
We hope "Blood and Tears on Truong Son Mountain’s Back" will open a window into Vietnam’s painful and full-of-hardship history, helping the world and the young Vietnamese generations to know that the root of Vietnam's problem is the birth and the existence of the Vietnamese Politburo.
Lastly, to the readers who consider this book as being opinionated and consisting of harsh words of condemnation of Ho Chi Minh and his Vietnamese Politburo, it is hoped that they see that the book is very lenient in comparison with the opinion of writers Duong Thu Huong, Bui Minh Quoc, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, lawyer Le Thi Cong Nhan and many others who were born, raised and have devoted their lives to develop and maintain the socialist regime in North Vietnam.
Hai Trieu & The Vietnamese Military Writers Group
To those who fight for freedom, democarcy & human right in Vietnam
Chapter I - The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram
We read “The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram” (the Diary) when it made its way overseas. This Diary was printed and published by the Hanoi Writers Association Publisher in 2005. It was hastily pushed out the door together with a campaign of promotion to all of the Vietnamese Politburo’s members, to all people, in every corner of the country.
One could compare Tram’s Diary to a sudden rainfall that the Hanoi regime had longed for, during a drought. Hanoi needed it to counter the fact that after over 30 years of propaganda, the regime finally showed its true colors: the regime cannot take care of its people on a self-sustaining level. “Independence, Freedom, Happiness” are all but an illusion – a decorated cake showcased to a country full of hungry people - created by a small dictatorial and corrupt group that considers the happiness of the people and its ancestral land as weeds and trash.
The happiness of the people, in addition to depending on having the bare necessities such as food, clothing and shelter, is also dependent on having the freedom to live as a human being; most important of all is the freedom of expression (“tu do tu tuong”). Politics, religion, and freedom of the press are parts of this freedom of expression. Such freedoms were almost denied, trampled on and forbade by the Hanoi regime.
In recent years, on the economic front, the survival instinct has forced Hanoi to face reality and to relax its grip so that its people can earn a living under a limited framework of capitalism, and because of it, the people could gasp for some air of life.
Communism, Marxist-Leninism, and Ho Chi Minh's idealism have not contributed any to the elevation of the people's standard of living compared to the first two decades of occupying South Vietnam. And let's not forget that because of the haphazard framework of "capitalism with a socialism orientation", the controlling minority group all has become red-capitalists with millions and billions of dollars for themselves.
To protect their ill-gotten gains, this group, comprised of the Vietnamese Politburo leaders, must maintain the dictatorial system, one Vietnamese Politburo’s rule, and tyrannical control. They have to restrain the people’s freedom, since the extreme oppression could explode into a revolution or a chain reaction stemming from economic and social hardships and could lead to a collapse or even a complete wipeout of the socialist system in Vietnam. The prospect of losing power and wealth in a “people’s revolution” must have caused some anxiety in the Vietnamese Politburo leaders.
After the APEC summit concluded, receiving orders from the Politburo of Vietnamese Communist Party (Vietnamese Politburo), Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed into law the Government's Instructions Number 37 with the sole purpose of controlling and restraining all forms of communications under all circumstances. This law explicitly forbids individuals from circulating private newspapers. Why would the Vietnamese Politburo be afraid when it holds in its hands the prison's key, when its army and police thugs hold AK rifles? Is the Vietnamese Politburo afraid that the voice of freedom would turn into a storm that could blow away its arcane barriers?
In general, the Vietnamese Politburo holds in a tight grip not only the people’s thoughts and ideas, but also the writers’ pens. “The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram” received the same fate. Tram's Diary served as a tool, the propaganda for the Hanoi regime in the same way that many years ago Dang Thuy Tram was pushed into the tragic war in South Vietnam under the pretext of "splitting Truong Son to save our homeland." The Vietnamese Politburo had blindfolded and brainwashed young generations in the North; mountains of bones and oceans of blood of the Northern youths were the result of the unjust war against the South. Dang Thuy Tram is one of the million of youths with heart-filled patriotism being sacrificed for an insane doctrine.
In "How the Steel Was Tempered," the main character, Pavel Korchagin, was the alter ego of the young Russian writer Nikolai Ostrovsky who, under Stalin's regime, passionately believed in communism. Like Korchagin, Dang Thuy Tram put her trust in the Vietnamese Politburo and in Ho Chi Minh. Both had the same fate of being used by Stalin and Ho Chi Minh. Both suffered the same fate of death before realizing the destruction of communism and the true identity of the Vietnamese Politburo: deceitful, treacherous, brutal and ruthless. How many Korchagins and Dang Thuy Trams do Russia and Socialist Vietnam have? The answer is many people, a number large enough to wreak havoc on society.
There were many followers of communism; the doctrine in theory elicits a sense of equality and fairness. In practice, communism left its mark on poverty, backwardness, and social disarray. Followers have awakened and realized the emptiness of this idealism. Communism is associated with brutality, corrupt moral values, oppression and greed.
The Father of Communism, Karl Marx, in his famous words “Only an animal would neglect the pain of its kind and tend only to its own fur,” expressed his view wholeheartedly; and close to a hundred years later, his view applies squarely to the Vietnamese Politburo that turns its back on the pain, the indignity of its people, and concentrates its efforts on maintaining its power and its wealth.
On October 30th, 1956, in front of the communist’s Đại Hội Mặt Trận Tổ Quốc, Attorney Nguyen Manh Tuong spoke of the crimes of the Vietnamese Politburo in the so-called “cai cach ruong dat” or land reform. Almost 40 years later, in the year 1992, in his book titled “The Excommunicated One” published in Paris, he also retold this crime: “One colossal mistake has killed tens of thousands of innocent people. From all over, thousands of orphans and widows wearing white cloths came to my office, asking me to restore the good names of the dead and to bring up the responsibility of the Vietnamese Politburo, of the guilty ones.”
Another follower, Poet Nguyen Chi Thien, voiced regretful sentiments through a poem entitled “Being infantile” when the North Army succeeded in its occupation of South Vietnam:
Being infantile, indifferent, ignorant,
For personal safety and self-preservation
The country now is hammered together
A bitter end, a grievous finish
Happiness, dreams, human dignity, moral principles;
All shattered upon one party-rule
Our nation’s history turns a page
Recording ruthlessness and brutality
How did the devil triumph?!
Nguyen Chi Thien
Communism has spread to South Vietnam; the whole country is under one ruler, the Vietnamese Politburo. Under the oppressive communist regime, there is no freedom of any kind, freedom of religion included. In words of protest, Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh spoke directly from Vietnam via an overseas telephone interview. His recorded message was posted on a number of internet sites during the month of December, 2006: “This Vietnamese Politburo has violated the law the most. The poor and uneducated people do not know the law, but the people did not commit any unlawful acts while the Vietnamese Politburo wrote the law and broke the law countless times... The police force has no moral character consisting of pimps, scoundrels, thugs, and the mafia. They only know circular reasoning to fit the goal of robbing and plundering people. The Communists of Vietnam just created a frightened consternation.”
Communism expands through the invasion and occupation of new territories. The Vietnamese communists followed the same pattern, after taking control of the North; with support from Red China and the Soviet Union, the communists moved southward, using the Ho Chi Minh Trail for military operations.
The Ho Chi Minh Trail (The Trail) mesmerized many with its myths and legends which were fabricated by Hanoi. More than 32 years ago, the South Vietnamese knew about its fabrication through many North defectors who made the long and treacherous trip through The Trail and survived. One of the well known defectors who happen to be a writer named Xuan Vu decided to write all he witnessed when making the trip. Xuan Vu exposed several dirty secrets that the Vietnamese Politburo of Vietnam (the Vietnamese Politburo) would rather its people or the world not know. Since then more and more of the North Vietnamese have known the facts of The Trail. The people, especially the younger generation adept at internet searches began to assemble bits and pieces of history for the whole truth.
Parallel with building military operations, the Vietnamese Politburo built its army by enlisting North Vietnamese youths. Through a massive and concerted campaign, the Vietnamese Politburo used multiple tactics from praising, encouraging, cajoling, and promising, to threatening its citizens to join the army. Dang Thuy Tram was one of these youths; she enlisted to go to Battlefield B (code name for battlefields in South Vietnam), known as the “go B” movement. She and fellow soldiers used the Trail by land to reach South Vietnam. Tram served as a field doctor in a hospital in Duc Pho, Quang Ngai. Dang Thuy Tram died in combat, and left a diary, two hand-written tablets that is known today as “The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram.”
At the end of April of 2005, the Vietnamese Politburo got its hand on a handwritten wartime diary. This diary was kept by a U.S. military intelligence officer named Frederic Whitehurst (Bethel, North Carolina) who served in the Vietnam War. The diary was found on a dead young military doctor who worked as a battlefield surgeon for North Vietnam. It chronicled the last three years of her life, just after the Tet Offensive of 1968. The diary was filled with idealism, with hope, with anguish, with despair and with anger. Tram - and many more of her generation - idolized the Vietnamese Politburo and Ho Chi Minh to the point that she volunteered to "go B"; she died at the age of 27 before realizing the truth. Or perhaps she did realize the Vietnamese Politburo was not what it was cracked up to be, for she did criticize the Vietnamese Politburo on several occasions in her diary.
Taking the advice of the South Vietnamese translator, Sergeant Nguyen Trung Hieu, who suggested that the memoir had sentimental values, Fred, instead of destroying the diary as ordered, kept the diary. He intended to return the diary to the dead surgeon’s family. For 35 years, he had not been able to find the family until he brought the diary to a conference on the Vietnam War at Texas Tech University. There, he and his brother met Vietnam veteran Ted Engelmann who is now a photographer. Ted was making plans for a trip to Vietnam the following month and offered to help in the search. A staff member in the Hanoi Quaker office named Do Xuan Anh helped Ted locate Tram's mother, Doan Ngoc Tram, and family.
Seeing an opportunity to revitalize the morality of its suppressed and dissolute people, the Vietnamese Politburo took control of the diary, and hastily ordered a colonel in the Department of Cong An Chinh Tri to edit, repackage and even modify the diary to suit the political intention of the Vietnamese Politburo. It directed the Hanoi Writers Association Publisher which is under the government’s control (as a matter of fact, all newspapers in Vietnam are under the Vietnamese Politburo’s strict control) to publish the diary with the title “The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram.” The Vietnamese Politburo then created a massive and well-organized promotion of the Diary under the propaganda "dying for your country is an honor, for it will always be remembered by the people and saluted by the Vietnamese Politburo. The Vietnamese Politburo's guide is never wrong (sic)."
In July of 2005, the Diary went on sale. It became an instant sensation. It had been recorded as a bestseller for several months from North to South. The Vietnamese Politburo got what it wanted out of the “cooked up” diary. Reading the Diary, most young Vietnamese who live in Vietnam got a shot of patriotic nostalgia, and of course the Vietnamese Politburo boldly took credit for all the glories of the past. In addition, being able to redirect the people's attention to something so inspiring, the Vietnamese Politburo dodged the resentment reaction from the people - again, especially the younger generation - for all its recent political and economic scandals. The Vietnamese Politburo has ordered the making of a documentary film; it also named a hospital in Dang Thuy Tram's honor. Riding the wave, the Vietnamese Politburo is seeking sympathy from the international community; it has also ordered that the diary be translated into English and other languages. Andrew Pham translated the Diary into English under the title “Last Night I Dreamed of Peace, the Diary of Dang Thuy Tram;” Random House is due to publish it in September 2007.
The refugee Vietnamese community all over the world reacted strongly to its distorted and sometimes farced facts when the Vietnamese edition of the Diary made its way overseas. Activists like Tran Trung Dao (Boston), a famous Vietnamese poet, wrote and analyzed the Diary. Thong Bien Tien Sinh (Virginia), also known as Tran Nghi Hoang, mocked the farced facts in the Diary with his “sharp pen”. Others pointed out subtle differences between the Diary's original version and the one published by the Vietnamese Politburo (Both the original and printed version were kept online in the Frederic Whitehurst Collection [Item Number: 13640105001 Diary 1 of Dr. Dang Thuy Tram, 122 pages, and Item Number: 13640107001 Diary 2 of Dr. Dang Thuy Tram, 27 pages] and off line [Item Number: 1402EM0281 CD-Rom containing translation of Dang Thuy Tram's diary, and Item Number: 1364EM0209 Dr. Dang Thuy Tram's Diary, 1967 – 1970] by The Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University).
The critics’ voice has grown louder with each passing day. Information is constantly updated and sneaked back into Vietnam through the Internet - most notable is the work of the Vietnamese Library Online tvvn.org - so that the people in Vietnam could also learn the truth. This group of activists also wanted the whole world to know about this self-serving shameless act; it began to translate some of the rebuttal books into other languages.
The author of this book, Hai Trieu, is one of such a group. Hai Trieu is a former officer of the ARVN, a writer living abroad after years of imprisonment in Vietnam after the fall of South Vietnam.
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