People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 15

April 09, 2006



The Land Where Entire People Are Heroes


TOWARDS the end of 1965, two delegations went to North Vietnam --- one of the World Federation of Democratic Youth and the other of the Canadian Communist Party. On their return they recounted what they saw, in a number of reports, speeches and interviews. What we print below are taken from these reports.



In peacetime it was a bridge like any other in Vietnam. Now people utter the name with pride. It has become legendary. How many US bombers have flown over it daily, spilling thousands of tons of bombs, turning up the soil, blowing up the railway lines, and smashing the surrounding rocks! An American bomb can be seen there lying on the round quite intact like a dosing sow. It hadn’t gone off. The girders of the bridge stretch up to the skies, like beseeching hands. But the bridge is still there --- the symbol of the perseverance and courage of a people waging a sacred war for freedom and independence. Only in the last two days of massive bombing, fifty American planes had been shot down in flames.


We were able to meet with workers, poets, cinema operators returning from the front. I would like to stress one particularly deep impression we got from these meetings: the powerful and treacherous enemy does not scare the Vietnamese people. They are aware of the difficulties and are ready to fight until the last gasp to defend their freedom and independence. Simple people become heroes in these grave moments.


…..In another village we had a chat with Ngo Thi Tuyen, a girl of 19. She was of slender build and weighed only about 48 kilos. During the fighting her squad had run short of ammunition. Off she went to get a crate of shells. But two crates were strapped together and she couldn’t loosen them. There wasn’t a moment to loose. So, mustering all her strength she heaved them into her shoulder and carried them to the required spot. Together the crates weighed 98 kilos.


We saw frail slim girls who had helped in capturing downed American airmen weighing over a hundred kilos. One of them had his name down for a cosmic flight. But instead of boundless space he found himself in prison as the author of a capital crime.


We visited a textile mill in Nam Binh. It previously employed 20,000 workers but the number has now been reduced to 10,000. Over a hundred machines in the plant have been either destroyed or damaged: 1,142 houses have been destroyed; thirty civilians have been killed and sixty injured.


But the mill is surrounded by rifle pits and by anti-aircraft emplacements. And they are manned by the workers of the mill. A majority of the gun crews are women, quite young. And they maintain duty twenty-four hours a day in four-hour shifts. They do this in addition to doing their eight hours of work in the mill per day. And that mill fulfilled its production quota for 1965 on the 15th of December.


…..Well, using non-sophisticated weapons they have learned to fight a sophisticated war in the conditions of their country. For example, the way they’re shooting down American planes with rifles. It’s hard to believe. To avoid radar the planes come in very low. Jet planes apparently have very thin armour --- we saw a few that had been shot down; they obviously had bullet holes in them.


The planes come over at a relatively high speed. A rifle bullet wouldn’t bring it down under normal conditions. But with the plane coming in low the bullets upset the pilot, or knock something out, and at that speed and distance from the ground they come down.


They say it is very effective. They have people with guns and they are told to sit wherever they are, no matter where they are, and as soon as the plane comes in range, just shoot away.


--- People’s Democracy, April 10, 1966