(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 30, 2010
epic anti-imperialist struggle of
MY first visit to
Standing on the terrace of the then South Vietnam's
presidential palace built by the US for its puppet regime – now a
museum and an
event centre, called the unification palace – one could visualise the
liberation army, tanks advance towards the palace down the main
named today after the then Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary
Duan. Parked behind me is the
The last flight from the
Floods of emotions and memories are bound to overwhelm
anyone who grew up in the 60's and 70's - the heady days of 'amor naam, tumar naam
did the Vietnamese manage such a stupendous victory? Over 60,000
A four storeyed labyrinth of tunnels, of nearly 700 kilometeres in length, were built over 20 years, in the nights, under the very nose of occupying US army. The Vietnamese simply disappeared after successful guerrilla ambushes. The perplexed US used Napalm to raze the forests and Agent Orange to kill and maim humans and to hopefully try and make the area – strategically located to control Saigon – uninhabitable. But being underground, the Vietnamese could escape lethal damage from both arial bombing and noxious chemical weapons. In fact they used unexploded US bombs and grenades to kill US troops in their bobby traps. Conscious of the fact that traces of underground cooking would expose this underground settlement, they made the fumes pass through three layers of foliage stored in connected compartments before releasing it under tree roots. These were sprayed with pepper and chilli powder to ward off US sniffer dogs from locating them!
entrances to the tunnels were impossible for me today to identify! They
narrow – many meters before enlarging into larger spaces – that it was
difficult for me to navigate. I, however did navigate some sections on
locations. Obviously they were so designed for the Vietnamese physique
prevent the burly Americans any mobility in the tunnels. Even if the
The two hours spent exploring the tunnels was indeed exhilarating. It is impossible to navigate these tunnels all alone as it is virtually a bhool bhulayya. On the soil burnt and charred with Napalm and Agent Orange now stands a forest of thick foliage. Healthy and vibrant, Vietnamese have truly recovered and bouncing today.
This was confirmed in the discussions with Ms Huynh Thi Nhan, Central Committee member and Deputy Head of Ho Chi Minh City Party committee, who hosted a welcome banquet. She was a militant of the Viet Cong. The discussions showed a similarity of problems and challenges between Ho Chi Minh city and Kolkata. Ho Chi Minh city is twice the size of Hanoi and a buzzling industrial centre. My visit to the Binh Duong Economic and Industrial Zone showed that in collaboration with Singapore, this area is steadily advancing with high technology production units. Vietnam aims to reach the status of an industrialised country by 2020. The discussions also showed that the earlier universal state support in areas like education and health is now replaced by a principle that those who can afford should be charged. Like in other socialist countries the reform process is leading to widening economic inequalities. However the Communist Party of Vietnam and the government are acutely conscious and taking measures to ameliorate the situation. Vietnam today ranks among the top five countries in poverty reduction. From being a chronic rice importer, Vietnam is now the second largest rice exporter.
Our solidarity with Vietnam, is today centred around the efforts of the CPV and Vietnamese people to build a prosperous, socialist Vietnam. This is the only way that the much delayed benefits of socialism by bloody imperialist interventions can be consolidated along with the gains of the heroic victories against three imperialist powers.