THE UNDAUNTED II.
© Piet J. Kroonenberg, Amsterdam and WOSM, Geneva.
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V I E T N A M.
The history of Vietnam
is very complicated. The ancestors of the Vietnamese used to live in
South China but they were forced to go south and settled in the middle
part of what is presently known as Vietnam. They created a country named
Annam (= Pacified South). There were many wars with neighbouring nations
and around 1697 they enlarged their territory by annexing the land of
the Malaysian Cham in the south, including the Mekong Delta. In the
16th and 17th century Portugese missionaries established missions in
the coastal areas but they were later replaced by French priests. European
traders came too. The Portugese, Brittons and Dutchmen found a country
full of unrest and war and so, initially, they stuck to trading in the
coastal areas, later they set up some trading posts without making an
attempt to colonize. Yet - as in many other places - the population
did not always accept the conver- ters telling them that their ancient
religions and believes were worthless and no good and that they had
to abandon them and to embrace the white man's. During one such a conflict,
when tempers were lost, some French missionaries were killed and in
order to protect the survivors. France landed some military forces in
the port of Saigon (1859) and slowly conquered the southern part of
the country which in 1862 they annexed and declared to be French territory.
Thereafter the French went north and also took North Vietnam which in
1885 was united with the south and thus all of Vietnam had become a
French colony. Cambodia and Laos also came under French influence. The
French - who later always claimed that they never had colonies like
the other European nations but Overseas Departments only - in 1893 united
The three Vietnamese associations registered with the Eclaireurs de France in Paris.
In 1936 Scoutisme Francais, the French Federation sent one of its top leaders Andre Lefebvre, a leader of the Eclaireurs de France, to Vietnam in order to investigate on the situation of Scouting in Indochina (= Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) and to submit proposals for establishing official relationships with the French Movements. He ended his visit giving a training course for Vietnamese leaders at the Dalat training centre.
Back home Andre Lefebvre, in the official magazine of the Eclaireurs de France, published aarticle describing his visit to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. He reported that initially Scouting was very much restricted to the cities and the larger towns such as Saigon, Hanoi etc. etc. but was now spreading. Further that he was pleased to have found that Vietnamese Scouting had grown considerably in numbers and popularity. There were 54 groups. But, with the exception of the capital Saigon, most of the regional and district commissioners were still found to be Frenchmen. The movement received the support of important, leading and influential locals such as King Bao-Dai, the last Emperor of Vietnam (abdicated in 1945) and His Royal Highness Prince Norodom Monireth of Cambodia. The lattter had taken such an interest in the movement that he made the Scout Promise during a ceremony arranged by Tran Van Khac and accepted the appointment of Federal Commissioner thus greatly influencing and promoting the further development and popularity of scouting in Cambodia. The Emperor Bao-Dai offered the Scout Association of Annam Hoi Huong Dao Trung Ky a large plot of land in the Bach-Ma mountains near Hu‚ for the construction of the first scouting training centre.
Having studied Andre
Lefebvre's report the Federation Scouting Francais decided to send to
Vietnam Raymond Schlemmer. He, a former French Naval Officer, was in
charge of the Le Breuil Training Centre of the Scouts de France in France.
One of his assignments was to create unity in Indochinese Scouting.
The many religions and nationalities had resulted in there being groups
of various denominations and nationalities. He convinced the Vietnamese
leaders to unite and form one organisation. So Tokinese Hoi Huong Dao
Bac Ky, Cochinchinese Hoi Huong Dao Nam Ky and Annamese Hoi Huong Dao
Trung Ky joined forces and created an overall organisation known as
the Federation Cochinchinoise des Associations de Scoutisme
An important part in the development of Vietnamese Scouting was played by a Rover Crew named "Lam-Son". Most of its Rovers were students some of whom went to French Universities. Later they were prominent and influential people not only in Vietnamese Scouting but - in post war times - in the country's two governments as well. (2)
All the time promising young Vietnamese leaders had been invited to come to France for a thorough scout training and one of them Ta Quang Buu, Hoang Dao Thuy's son-in-law, went to Gilwell Park, England, to return not only as a Gilwellian but also as a Deputy Camp Chief (DCC) and consequently entitled to organize and lead Gilwell Courses in Vietnam. In 1937 a Gilwell Training Centre was opened and Ta Quand Buu was put in charge. In 1939 there were 17 groups in the city of Hanoi in the north, 10 in Annam in the central part and 29 in the rest of the country, including Saigon.
As members of the French Contingent to the 5th World Jamboree (1937) in Vogelenzang in the Netherlands some Vietnamese scouts and scoutleaders participated but they were mainly studying in France where some all-Vietnamese groups were operating.
In September 1939
Nazi-Germany attacked Poland when it refused to give in to Hitler's
demands and shortly thereafter England and France were also at war with
Nazi Germany, World War II (1939-1945) had begun. Poland having been
beaten by Nazi-Germany and stabbed in the back by the Soviet Union,
there set in a period or relative quiet on the western front, a period
known as "the Phoney War". On their bank of the River Rhine
the Germans had created their impenetrable Siegfried Line and the French
had build their also impenetrable - mainly underground - fortifications
named the Magniot Line. During autumn 1939 and winter 1939/1940 some
shots were fired accross the river and there were some exchanges of
artillery fire, but for the rest it was all quiet on the Western Front.
in September 1939 the Second World War in Europe had begun everything
was still very quiet and normal in Vietnam. In 1940 Vietnamese Scouting
celebrated its 10th anniversary with a camp at Rung Sat. When France
had been occupied by the Germans, cummunicating with Scouting Francais
became impossible and it was decided to create the Huong Dao Viet Nam,
the HDVN or National Vietnamese Scouting Organisation. Its NHQ in Hanoi.
In 1941 a national camp was held.
In December 1941
Japan entered the war with its surprise attack on the US Naval Base
Pearl Harbour (Hawaii). At the same time its invasion fleets were landing
troops on the coasts of Malaysia, the Philippines and a little later
the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). But even before its attacks,
Japan from its occupied parts of China - with which it had been at war
many years - had already infiltrated into French Indochina and the Vichy
government was powerless and could not stop them and neither could the
Frenchmen on the spot. When the Far East War had begun nothing restrained
the Japanese from landing more troops and occupying the country. But
whereas elsewhere, on the Philippines, in Malaysia, Singapore and the
Dutch East Indies, all the Europeans were interned in camps, the French
in Vietnam and the other parts of Indochina were not. That is until
March 1944 when the Japanese took over and the Frenchmen were also removed
from the scene and also detained in camps. The reason why was that Vichy
France was co-operating or rather colaborating with Japan's ally Nazi-Germany,
and innitially the Japanese did not consider Vietnam as being enemy
territory. The French administrative machinery was permitted to carry
on, be it under Japanese supervision. This situation, Whites being controled
by Asians, was hitherto unknown and something brand new, and did not
go unnoticed. The Vietnamese - as all other peoples living in colonies
- had always resented the White supremacy and were of the opinion that
the people was very well
During the Japanese
era, in particular in southern Vietnam, in 1941, an organisation came
to being named Viet Nam Doc Lap Minh Hoi or the Vietnam Independence
League better known as the Viet Minh. It was a guerrilla force in which
nationalists and communists united.
By the time that the Japanese infiltrated and when in March 1944 they interned the French, Huong Dao Viet Nam had already been Vietnamized though there were still some French leaders and scouts active. When the French had been taken out of circulation by the Japanese, they - no doubt - were missed, but the capable Vietnamese leaders were very well able to cope. In Japan the government had disbanded and banned the Japanese Scout Movement as it did in the countries it conquered. Whether such a measure was officially taken in Vietnam has not been traced. At the grass root level scouts used to still meet but the developments came to a standstill. Also many Vietnamese scouts, rovers and leaders joined the Viet-Minh and no doubt played a useful part thanks to their training. Hoang Dao Thuy, one of Scouting's Founder Fathers, was a high ranking officer in the partisans.
In the Dutch East Indies Sukarno was permitted to declare the Republic of Indonesia. In Vietnam, August 1945, the Japanese gracefully handed over Vietnam to the nationalist and rebel Son Ngac Than.
Already having lost thousands of young men and realising that an invasion of Japan might cost them millions of lives more, the Allies decided to end the war by using the recently developped nuclear weapons. The only two atomic bombs ever used in anger (so far) were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This ended the war in the Far East. Japan on September 2nd, 1945 signed the unconditional surrender on board an American man-of-war in the Tokyo Bay.
In the northern
part of Vietnam the Japanese were disarmed by the Chinese Nationalist
forces, in the southern area by the British Army. But both allied forces
also met the Vietminh which emerged from the jungles and entered the
cities. Emperor Boa Dai abdicated in favor of the Viet-Minh, which set
up a provisory government in Hanoi under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh,
who as head of same, on August 19thm 1945 proclaimed the Democratic
Republic of Vietnam.
In March 1946 the first negotiations were held in Fountainebleau near Paris and Ho Chi Minh was present. The French were forced to recognize Vietnamese independence. Yet - trying tokeep a finger on the pulse and in order to keep some supervision and influence - they proposed that Vietnam would be part of an Indochinese Federation which in turn would be part of a French Union. But that was not what the Viet Minh had in mind. They wanted the French out definitely. So in the night of December 19, 1946 the Viet Minh took up arms again and launched attacks against the French forces. The first Vietnam War began and ended when the remaining French forces (mainly Foreign Legion), surrounded in the city of Dien Bien Phu, surrendered to the Viet Minh on May 7th, 1954. In July 1954 the last French military forces were withdrawn from Vietnam and the French era was over forever.
In December 1945
Hoang Dao Thuy organized a large scout camp in Hanoi to celebrate the
"Victory of the Revolution". Ho Chi Minh visited the camp
and was greeted by the organizer and camp chief and Tran Duy Hung, mayor
of Hanoi and member of the influential Rover Crew "Lam Son"
(2a, 2b, 3a.)
Prominent Scoutleader Vo-Thanh-Minh (about whom more later) was not at all in favour of the division of his beloved country and attracted international attention when he protested in a striking way. Having arrived in Geneva during the conference, he pitched his tent - of all places - right in the middle of the Garden of the United Nation's Palais des Nations - spoke to the press and went on hunger strike. To no avail and he returned to South Vietnam to dedicate his further life to Scouting.
Little is known regarding what happened to Scouting in North Vietnam after 1954. But - as it was said - the movement thereafter " quickly joined the population on the path of revolution". There was - at first in North Vietnam only (after 1975 in all of Vietnam) a Communnist Youth Organization, a Pioneer type youth movement with - initially - a compulsory - and later- a more relaxed, voluntary membership. Whether the "Scouts Patriots" that Ho Chi Minh advocated have ever been and whether they were the basic of the Communist Youth Organization could not be traced. Neither whether the scouts that sided with Ho Chi Minh had any influence e.g. by introducing the scouting methods.
When it was decided (1954) to divide Vietnam in North and South, the NHQ of the National Scout Organization Hoi Huong Dao Viet Nam was moved from Hanoi to Saigon.
Girls had been involved
in Scouting almost from the start. But the Roman Catholic Church had
a lot of influence and, apparently, as in many other countries it was
- in the early days - opposed to Guiding for its girls. It expected
the "rough sides and elements of Scouting" to be harmful to
the girls' tender souls and characters and was afraid too that they
might be losing their feminine charms turning into "tomboys"
or "she-men". Ofcourse there were girls of other denominations
and the first girl scout units were created within the scout movement.
Rather late, in 1957, a separate South Vietnamese Girl Guide Association
was founded to be recognized as an official member by WAGGGS in 1966.
In 1959 the Vietnamese
scouts were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their Scouting with
a National Camp at Trang Bom and a contingent went to the 10th World
Jamboree near Mount Makeling in the Philippines (1959).
South Vietnam, as mentioned earlier, was led by Ngo Dinh Diem. He was a fierce anti-communist but made the terrible mistake of lumping all his opponents together and branding them all as being communists. This caused difficulties and discontent and in 1960 some of his opponents took up arms and created a new partisan movement. The communists in the north and the south jumped at the opportunity to infiltrate the discontents and gradually the partisan movement was brought under their influence and got to be known as the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam better known as the Viet-Cong (Cong = communist). Whereupon the real democrats, also opposing the regime, gradually left the Viet Cong.
Ofcourse the Viet-Cong could count on North Vietnam's full support. The latter in turn was supported by the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, who liked nothing better than a bit of unrest in South East Asia which might promote the spreading of communism and the increase of their influences. Arms and other equipment were being provided and used. But North Vietnam "volunteers" were also rushing in to join and reinforce the Viet-Cong brothers in their fight for the "liberation" of South Vietnam.
At the same time in other parts of the Far East communist take-overs were tried but were sometimes prevented (Indonesia) or communist partisans were causing a lot of trouble without succeeding (Malaysia).
This was the period of the Cold War between the Free Western World and the communist block. The one side led by the United States of America and the other side under the direction of Moscow. The Americans and the Australians got worried and wanted to prevent the growth of communist influence in the Far East. So they decided to support South Vietnam, at first sending arms and equipment, then small units of military advisors only, but soon getting involved on a much larger scale and sending thousands of soldiers to do the real fighting. Meanwhile the "secret and silent" North Vietnamese support to the Viet-Cong also underwent a drastical change. "Volunteers" the size of complete North Vietnamese army units were now sent and thereafter the North Vietnamese army was officially marching in as well. Soon all were involved in the fighting which had turned into a full and open war but still with a lot of guerilla elements. The US Army, which so far had never lost a war, was now faced with a problem and was taught a lesson which the Germans (in Europe), the French (in Vietnam and North Africa) the British (on Cyprus in Palestine and Kenya) and the Russians (in Ukraine) had learned, viz that a modern army, however well trained and well equiped, is not always a match for querillas who are almost invisible. The one moment acting as peaceful workers in the fields, the next moment grabbing their hidden arms and opening up. During the Tet offensive (1968) the South Vietnamese and the Americans could only just stop the Viet-Cong from reaching Saigon's outskirts and could only just repel them with tanks, their superior artillery and the airforce. But slowly South Vietnam - step by step - was conquered by the opponents.
As was to be exptected this war also influenced Vietnamese Scouting. Leaders and Rover Scouts were called up for military service and many were killed in action. The younger scouts and guides were rendering their services to the hard hit population, the majority of which was reduced to poverty, reason why, in total despair, it sometimes joined the Viet Cong or at least supported it.
Many scouts and leaders, either in the armed forces or as a result of the fighting in which civilians got entrapped, lost their lives or just vanished into thin air. Some well known leaders were lost. Vo-Thanh-Minh, the one that out of protest, once pitched his tent in the garden of the UN building in Geneva (as mentioned earlier), during the Ted offensive led an action to come to the resque of the many civilian victims. He was taken prisoners by the Viet-Cong and vanished forever. Tran-Dien, the national commissioner for Rover Scouts and an opposition senator in the South Vietnamese parliament, was also seen to be caught during the Ted offensive and disappeared without a trace. Both are supposed to have been executed immediately after their capture.
Despite everything Scouting carried on and under the circumstances it cannot have been very pleasant as by now real war was being waged in the country. Yet the movement managed to celebrate its 40th anniversary with another National Camp at Thu Duc. The camp's name was Suoi Tien or Fairy's Source. US scouts participated in the event. In 1971 a fair Vietnamese contingent participated in the 13th World Jamboree at Asagiri Heights in Japan. In 1974 another National Camp was organized in Thu Duc, near Saigon, named "Tu Luc" (=Self Reliance) Camp. A 1975 census revealed that there were 17.000 scouts in South Vietnam.
Meanwhile the population of the United States of America had enough of the war and thegovernment slowly withdrew its forces from Vietnam. Feeling that the end was near, large numbers of South Vietnamese left the country and in the end it was just the city of Saigon which was still defended by South Vietnamese troops and a handful of Americans. But the latter were just protecting their retreat and in May 1975 the world, Life-on-TV, watched those dramatic and chaotic moments when the last Americans and some Vietnamese were lifted out of the American embassy by US Navy helicopters. In the city Viet-Cong or North Vietnamese snipers were already in evidence and not much later the victorious Viet-Cong and North Vietnamese troops marched into the city and took over.
South Vietnam was reunited with North Vietnam and the two carried on as the People's Republic of Vietnam. Capital Hanoi. The city of Saigon was renamed to be Ho Tsji Min City, thus was honoured their great leader who had died on September 3rd, 1969. As usual the new authorities began by cleansing the country of all those who had opposed them but also of those who might become a danger to them as - when left alone - they might become leaders of a future opposition or resistance. All those suspected of having leader's capacities, such as university professors, teachers, other intelectuals, not forgetting scoutleaders, were arrested and if not killed immediately they were sent to "re-eduction camps" which most of them did not survive. Scouting and Guiding ceased to be and were banned, disbanded and persecuted. South Vietnam disappeared behind the Bamboo Curtain, which was as effective as the Iron Curtain in Europe.
served the South Vietnamese government and the American Forces, defending
their freedom and country, had already fled the country and in the years
thereafter many more thousands tried an escape. In larger and smaller
boats they set sail for the open sea. Thousands did not make it, starved
or drowned when their overloaded, frail vessels sank. If they were lucky
these "boat refugees", as they were called, were picked up
by passing container or other seagoing vessels. The countries whose
flags these ships were flying were obliged to offer them refuge. So
apart from the United Sates, which had its fair share of refugees, sea
going nations like Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark,
Norway, Sweden, Germany etc also accommodated many. But France was the
Vietnameses' favourite country the more so as most of them spoke French
and so the language was not a problem as in other countries.
so many Vietnamese scouts and guides settled in countries foreign to
After the fall of Saigon and the communist victory in Vietnam, Some of members of the Hoi Huong Dao Viet Nam NHQ staff had also managed to escape. Nguyen Quang Minh, a former Secretary General, settled in the USA and with others undertook action to communicate with the Vietnamese scouts scattered all over the world and he also reported back to WOSM's World Bureau in Geneva. Hoi Huong-Dao Viet-Nam, having been a recognized NSO and a member of the World Movement, the Vietnamese - in the past - had been involved in the World Conference's many and lengthy discussions regarding the Exile Movements and they understood full well that it was no use creating just another one, the World Movement not being able to recognise and admit movements not operating within the national boundaries of their country. (See Chapter One of THE UNDAUNTED I) It came to a meeting between WOSM's Secretary General Laszlo Nagy and the Vietnamese top leadership. The latter first of all and uppermost wanting their scouts to remain members of the World Movement able to enjoy all the benefits and training possibilites. Emphasizing this they discussed the matter with WOSM's Secretary General and in mutual agreement it was decided that no Vietnamese Movement-in-Exile would be founded. So, in co-operation with WOSM's Secreary General it was agreed to urge all Vietnamese groups, all over the world, to join the NSOs of their new countries of residence. The NSOs in turn were asked to give these groups a special status within their movements, allowing them the use their own language and traditions, permitting them to wear a (South) Vietnamese flag badge in addition to the national badges of the country involved. Further it was agreed that a "Liaison Office of Vietnamese Scouting Abroad" would be established, chaired by Mai Ngoc Lieu and Nguyen Quang acting as Secretary General (1976-1979). In 1983, following a meeting in California/USA, a Vietnamese co-ordinating committee was created named Hoi-Dong Trung-Uong Hong-Dao Vietnam or International Central Committee of Vietnamese Scouting (ICCVS), initially based in Houston, Texas, USA. Its first President was Tran Van Khac, in 1930 one of the founders of the first all-Vietnamese groups in Hanoi, later the stimulator of scouting in the south of Vietnam and later still its President. He too had managed to leave Saigon and had settled in Canada. Once again this loyal veteran was very active, encouraging the establishing of many groups in that country. He retired from ICCVS in 1985 and passed away in 1994. The Presidency was than taken over by Nguyen Van Tho who had been President of Vietnamese Scouting when Saigon was taken by the Communists and in the nineties he was succeeded by Vinh Dao, presently residing in France. (Who has been very helpful to the author.)
The Committee, true to the agreement with WOSM, as such never acted as a NHQ of a Vietnamese Exile Movement but restricted itself to assisting, promoting and sponsering the groups in their various new countries of residence.
There being thousands
of Vietnamese refugees in many countries such as the USA, Great Britain,
Norway, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Germany
and others, many groups were founded and they all joined the NSOs of
their new countries of residence.
the world has changed a lot. In 1989 the European Iron Curtain was opened
The Berlin Wall - its main symbol - , came tumbling down. The communist
system of the East Block countries collapsed. The Soviet Union ceased
to be. The Cold War was over. Even the People's Republic of China relaxed
and Vietnam, sealed off from the world for decades, also opened its
borders to visitors again. Apart from American and other foreign tourists
even the American veterans of the Vietnam war were welcome to come and
see the country once more. Western products as Coca-Cola etc. were made
1) One of the things
that history teaches is that a nation - with an ancient civilization
and many old traditions - once conquered and ruled by a foreign, mostly
European power, in the long run feels the urge to become independent.
The colonizers, aware of this, always did everything to nip in the bud
all awaking nationalism. But on the other hand most of the colonial
powers also provided education. Not only locally. Bright, promising
youngsters were enabled to go to European universities. On arrival they
met the people by whom they were accepted on equal terms. Such contrary
to what they were used to experiencing in their homelands where there
was always - and after their return would be again - a barrier between
the "whites" and them. Buth having completed their studies,
on return to their homelands, they in no way felt inferior to the "whites"
in charge and they considered themselves very well capable of running
their own country. The only problem was how to attain this. Some chose
the democratic way, whereas others thought this a process far too slow
and applied other means, such as armed rebellion. Nationalists they
2a) Most of the Vietnamese scout leaders and older scouts were nationalists. The "Lam-Son" Rover Crew was something special. Some of its Rover Scouts were students and some of them studied at French Universities. They were also very keen Scouts and played an important role in the development of Vietnamese Scouting. But they also belonged to those Vietnamese who were of the opinion that they, with their education and background, were very well capable of leading their own country and that they did not necessarily need the French to do it for them. So they joined the partisans of the Vietminh which harassed the Japanese but made it also quite clear that a return of the French administration would not be tolerated either. When the French had been evicted but the country had been split in two independent states scouts were found in both parts. They were all good scouts but also nationalists. Some of them thought that Ho Tsji Minh's communist system was the right thing for Vietnam and so they sided with him, whereas others stuck to South Vietnam.
2b) Some "LAM-SON" Rovers went on to obtain high ranks in the South as well as the North Vietnam governments. In Ho Tsji Minh's North Vietnamese administration Pham Ngoc Thach, a medical doctor, became Minister for Health, Mai Van Bo North Vietman's ambassador to France in the 1980s. Ta Quang Buu who in the 1940s he had been Chief Commissioner of the Scouts in Central Vietnam was appointed Deputy Defence Minister and as such, on behalf of the Vietcong, signed the Geneva agreements in 1954 and later became Minister for Higher Education. Tran Duy Hung, another medical doctor, in the late fourties and the fifties was mayor of the city of Hanoi. DCC Ta Quang Buu, Hoang Dao Thuy's son-in-law was North Vietnam's Vice-Minister of Defence and was in its delegation to the 1956 Geneva Conference which divided Vietnam. On the other side were two other "LAM-SON" Rovers, Cung Cung Giu and Tran Van Tuyen. Tran Van Tuyen in 1948 was appointed Minister of Information in the South Vietnamese Republic and later acted as Deputy Prime Minister of same. After the communist victory in 1975 he was sent to a re-education camp where he died in 1976. Cung Giu Nguyen, a writer and a scholar, was a DCC and a long time in charge of the movement's leaders' training.
3a) Nguyen Huu Dang
was also one of the LAM-SON Rovers that played an important part in
pre-war Vietnamese Scouting. He was also involved in the "Association
Promoting the development of the Vietnamese language and the introduction
of the European alphabet". Further he was a prominent prostestant.
A convinced bachelor leading a very Spartan life-style without any luxeries.
But he was also a very humble person who kept a low profile, despite
the fact that he was an important and prominent worker in Scouting,
his church and his language association. He always very much remained
a vaque, unknown figure in the three of them refusing to step into the
limelight and reluctant to accept the acclaim his work entitled him
to. So it came as a complete surprise to all knowing him when in August
1945 they read in the press that Ho Tsji Minh had appointed him to be
his Minister of Education, Youth Work and Culture. It was revealed that
during his Scouting leadership, as well as his membership of the Protestant
Church and his work for the Language Association, he had for a considerable
long time been a secret member of the - in pre-war times illegal - communist
party and that he had even been a member of its Polit Bureau, its top
leadership. All the time his task had been to influence the intellectuals
and attract them to the party and secondly he had been forming communist
cells and "planting moles" in the organisations he was working
3b) Nguyen Huu Dang's
friends and former friends had another surprise coming. The North Vietnamese
government pretended to introduce more openness and launched a campaign
officially named "One Hundred Flowers Blossom" inviting and
encouraging intellectuals to openly criticize the government's policies
and actions. Now, amongst other things, Ho Chi Minh and his government
in communist North Vietnam introduced agrarian reforms like the ones
Mao Tse Tung had carried out in the People's Republic of China. Further
was also demanded liberalisation of the government, more freedom of
expression and creation, real democracy with a more humane attitude
towards the people. But when the invited criticism came forward, there
were mass arrests, and it was proven that the government's true aim
had been to identify hidden opponents to the regime.
Either he had become a burden to the party and an excuse had to be found to expell and get rid of him, or - the accusation was correct and truthful - which is not certain - and he really was the "Flower Men's" leader and spokesman, it might have been a sign that he turned away from the marxist-leninist conviction and desired a "communism with a humane face". The possibility of a disappointment in the system and a changed point of view are not to be ruled out. The Vietnamese and other scouts that knew him prefered not to remember him as the "false brother" but as one of the culprits of circumstances that he, an idealist, did not quite understand or had not had in his grip. He - like many Christians - knew that the first followers of Jesus had lived in communities, the well-to-do and the rich caring for and sharing with the poor and no one in want of anything. A real and pure communist or socialist life style that had not lasted very long. Add to this the Scouting ideals of World Wide Brotherhood and equality of all as well as the patriotic feelings and, the combination of it all may well have confused his thinking in such a way that he may have thought that the fullfilment of his idealistic dreams were to be found in communism, as so many others Christians did. Until they found that Communism was a stonehard, surpressing dictatorship that had nothing in common with democratic-socialism.