On Grave Blunders by the Communist Party of Vietnam Against The Nation and Vietnamese Buddhism.
The Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do
Finally, the policy of contract production also failed, so by 1985 the Party rented out the fields. This means farmers rented rice fields from the government and then paid taxes to the government, exactly like the policy of field distribution for tax collection by “executed plundering landowners” previously; the difference is that in the past, landowners were private individuals whereas today’s landowners are the Party or the government. Thus, cats remained cats. Then the government started to demolish the Cooperative: storage houses, pig farms, silkworm farms, herb gardens, green houses, cooperative stores, Uncle Ho’s fish ponds, Uncle Ho’s orchards … and so on. Everything had to be completely destroyed, everything had to be auctioned off. One day, a man in the village came to the temple and asked me to go watch an American’s B52 bomb crater. When I asked when the bomb was dropped, the man said only a couple of days ago. I was extremely surprised and astonished. A moment later, the man told me that villagers bought Cooperative’s pig farm, now they were knocking it down to collect bricks, making the place look like a B52’s bomb crater. Until then did I understand what the man was trying to say. A few days earlier, someone from Nam Dinh province came to visit and gave me a Russian-made gift. Outside of the box were the characters CCCP. I did not understand and asked the man what that meant. The man said it was an abbreviation of the following sentences “Fathers can destroy it, uncles can destroy it, aunties can destroy it, children can destroy it, grandchildren can destroy it, great grandchildren can destroy it …etc”, and he was laughing his heart out. I thought to myself: these are indeed mischievous characters; or is this the fate of our country? No wonder they even destroyed temples and village halls; generation after generation, they keep destroying like that. What else is left of this nation? I remembered the age of “the struggle that burns everything to the ground.”
Innumerable wealth and efforts, sweat, and even tears from farmers who spent well over a quarter of a century to build up and contribute to Cooperatives went up in smoke; and none of the farmers knew where the money from the property auction went.
Through the eras, Vietnamese ancestors consolidated their life experience into excellent and applicable short proverbs and folk-songs to teach future generations in all aspects. For example, on the law of cause and effects, our ancestors said “If parents’ generations eat salty foods, offspring generations will be thirsty”, meaning sooner or later, those who commit bad deeds will suffer karmic consequences. On destiny, our ancestors said “One who is destined to be rich, wealth comes uninvited; one who is meant to be poor remains poor despite searching for wealth everywhere”. Indeed, during the reform period, land owners and rich farmers had their houses, rice fields, rice, equipment and money confiscated and only had a buffalo enclosure to raise their children; without beds and blanket, they had to sleep on the floor; left with nothing to eat, they had to catch crabs and snails to subsist. But now they become wealthy, live in brick houses and have abundant rice and money. On the other hand, the people who robbed these rich people’s properties and split among one another, could only last for a short time. The ones who took the house sold it off, the ones who took equipment sold off the equipment; at the end, the poor remain poor. One ironic detail is that after the reform, families and relatives of land owners and rich farmers were called “thugs” or “trolls”, and had to address people as “Mr” or “Mrs” farmers; now those people had to come to rich relatives’ houses to borrow money and rice grains, and they call rich relatives either elder or grandmother, depending on age, instead of “thugs” and “trolls” like in the past.
However, there is no area received as much teachings from our ancestors as the area of socialist cooperative business. Other areas receive one or two teachings at the most, but the area of socialist cooperative business receives three teachings, which are: “Nobody cries for a common father, Too many monks leaves no-one to close the temple’s gate, and too many monks trigger a chaotic funeral, too many fathers cause a daughter to be on the shelf”. Nowadays, Vietnamese communists not only reject ancestors teachings but also learn from Karl Marx and Lenin, thinking that these 2 individuals teach better and more precisely than our ancestors. Therefore Vietnamese communists forced people into shared labor, wasting people’s money and efforts without achieving anything. Similarly in the political area, Vietnamese ancestors did not lack sound policies. For example King Thanh Tong (1054 – 1072) during the Ly era, once was presiding over a court in Thien Khanh Palace, with Princess Dong Thien standing by his side. The King pointed to the Princess and said to the officials “Deep down in my heart, I love people as much as I love my own daughter. I suspect that people are ill-advised and commit offenses; I love them very much. From now on, let us forgive minor offenses, and reduce the penalty for more serious onces.” Or like Nguyen Trai “Use benevolent and righteousness to conquer violence, use learned men to replace tyrants.” Why don’t Vietnamese communists learn from those precious humanity values instead of absorbing class hatred/hostility and people denouncement policy that caused hundreds of thousands of people to die innocently?
Returning to the issue of carte blance after the failure of Cooperatives. This means at this time (1985), rice fields were granted to farmers, but unfortunately all farm animals and agricultural equipment were appropriated to Cooperatives, and when Cooperatives were disbanded, farmers did not receive any money from the auction and now they had to buy new equipment. The most difficult issue is farm animals which cost hundreds of thousands of Dong each; where could farmers find that kind of money? Gas is expensive, causing farmers inability to rent plows. Furthermore, previously, when joining the Cooperative, all rice fields’ banks had to be demolished to make “rice field so vast over which a stork can take a long flight and a dog can run until exhaustion”.
Now, rice fields were granted carte blance, each family received a few sao (each sao in North Vietnam is equal to 366 square meters), people had to rebuild the banks to mark their fields and hold water, then even if they could afford renting the plows they were not able to plough. Therefore, the majority of farmers had to use hoes and spades to prize up rice fields, and with every stroke of hoeing, they said “National mechanization!” They said ‘Our Party’ had told them that agriculture would be mechanized nationwide! Even children 7-8 years old had to be mechanized nation. After hoeing, families who have many healthy young people had to plough themselves. One person was holding the plough and two people pulling the rope, people walking on the road saw that and “praised” “Wow, such two strong buffaloes!” then they all laughed with one another in sympathy.
That scene reminded me of a movie on TV in Saigon in 1975 about the life of Ho Chi Minh (at the time, he was called Brother Ba in the movie), from the Port of Nha Rong, Saigon, he got on a ship to find the ways to save the country, and one of the reasons that made him decide to save the country was that people had to pull the plows like buffaloes. Now, after almost half a century of revolutionary victory and building of socialism, people replaced buffaloes and pulled the plows! In Vu Doai, I only saw people pulling spades and not plows, because plows were very heavy. Life is really like a wind-propelled lantern, returning to the old position after each round. Other social problems such as break-ins, robberies, beggars, bribery, addictions … etc … were all over place.
Thus, after the reform period that killed 700,000 people, the Communist Party promised to North Vietnamese to build a heaven right on earth. It has been 36 years (1956 – 1992) and that heaven on earth is still not achievable; maybe it is only a drawn cookie?
Now, what about South Vietnam? Like mentioned above, after the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the French negotiated with the Communists to divide Vietnam into two halves. From 17th parallel northward belonged to the Communists, and from 17th Southward belonged to the French. But the Capitalist bloc lead by the US, realized that France was already drained after spending a fortune in vain, pushed France aside and intervened into Vietnam by bringing Mr. Ngo Dinh Diem home and created a robust anti-communist government to protect the free world. After that, the communists seized that excuse to create what was called “People’s Liberation Front of the South” to fight the American to save the country and liberate the people. Thus, again, the war between the Nationalists and Communists started in the South.
Mr. Ngo Dinh Diem’s government became more and more totalitarian, nepotist, and discriminatory against religions; therefore it did not receive the public support. After eliminating other religions such as Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, in 1963, Mr. Ngo Dinh Diem flexed his muscles to suppress Buddhism; all Southern monastics and Buddhists had to stand up to protect Dharma. By November 1963, Mr. Ngo Dinh Diem’s regime was overthrown.
In 1965, after what was called “Incident of the Gulf of Tonkin”, the American government started bombing North Vietnam, and in 1966 sent half a million American troops and tens of thousands troops from such allies as Thailand, South Korea, Australia into the South to fight directly. From then on, the war became more deadly, and the fatalities and destruction were extremely horrific.
With half a million of American troops and allies, the Capitalist bloc still could not defeat the Communist bloc. There were many reasons, but the main reason remains that the heavy presence of foreign armies in Vietnam created a “righteous” image for communist Vietnamese, making their slogan “Fighting against the American to save the country and liberate the people” became a reality, hence the communists were able to mobilize entire Northern population and a large part of patriotic Southerners sympathetic with communism to support their cause; at the end, the communists were victorious. On thi point, as mentioned above, the communists were smarter than the capitalists, as they only used local communists to fight in the battle fields instead of the Chinese, Russian, Polish, Cech …etc . Those countries only lent the money, guns and bullets, and advisors to communist Vietnamese. Thus, communist Vietnamese could easily propagandize that Vietnam was under foreign invasion, whereas fighting against foreign invasion was righteous, who wouldn’t believe that the communists were good? And, for every conflict, no matter how difficult and complex it is, the side with righteousness will succeed eventually. Additionally, the communists lobbied a number of countries in the capitalist bloc for support. At the same time, the American public saw that the war in Vietnam had nothing to do with their own country’s gains and their children had to die; therefore they demanded the American government to bring their children back home. Those were extremely beneficial elements for the communists, so they exploited that sentiment further by showing to the world that they were a dwarf harassed and oppressed by a powerful giant.
Behaving like the French in 1954, the Americans were forced to withdraw their troops after having failed to win the war. But the withdrawal had to be done in such a way that the American would not lose face. Therefore, the Americans used B52 bombers to drop bombs in Hanoi to force North Vietnamese communists to sit down and discuss at a peace conference. Thus, Paris Peace Conference was organized, and by January of 1973, both sides agreed to a ceasefire and the American started to withdraw their troops. There was only the Republic of Vietnam left to try to defend against the communists. However, on April 30, 1975, the Republic of Vietnam forfeited and the communists took over the entire South Vietnam. They really practiced the slogan “Fight until the Americans get out, fight until South Vietnam falls.”
(To be continued)