vietnamese government

4

The Burning Monk

Thích Quảng Đức, was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963.Quang Duc was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government led by Ngô Đình Diệm. Photographs of his self-immolation were circulated widely across the world and brought attention to the policies of the Diệm government. John F. Kennedy said in reference to a photograph of Duc on fire, “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one.” Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the monk’s death.

Quảng Đức’s act increased international pressure on Diệm and led him to announce reforms with the intention of mollifying the Buddhists. However, the promised reforms were not implemented, leading to a deterioration in the dispute. With protests continuing, the ARVN Special Forces loyal to Diệm’s brother, Ngô Đình Nhu, launched nationwide raids on Buddhist pagodas, seizing Quảng Đức’s heart and causing deaths and widespread damage. Several Buddhist monks followed Quảng Đức’s example, also immolating themselves. Eventually, an Army coup toppled Diệm, who was assassinated on 2 November 1963.

Interesting facts:

  • Quang Duc’s body was re-cremated during the funeral, but Duc heart remained intact and did not burn. It was considered to be holy and placed in a glass chalice at Xa Loi Pagoda. The intact heart relic is regarded as a symbol of compassion.
  • Despite the shock of the Western public, the practice of Vietnamese monks self-immolating was not unprecedented. Instances of self-immolations in Vietnam had been recorded for centuries, usually carried out to honor Gautama Buddha.
  • Photographs taken by Malcolm Browne of the self-immolation quickly spread across the wire services and were featured on the front pages of newspapers worldwide. The self-immolation was later regarded as a turning point in the Buddhist crisis and a critical point in the collapse of the Diem regime.
  • Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the monk’s death.
El Toro Marine Corps Air Station

In honor of Asian Pacific American Month, we would like to share with you some of the images and documents within our holdings at the National Archives at Riverside. 

After the Vietnam War, many refugees came to the U.S. to create a better life for themselves after their country was torn apart. One example comes to us from the U.S. Marine Corps newspaper, the Flight Jacket (National Archives Identifier 44266766), from the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro, California. El Toro became a reception center for refugees fleeing Vietnam. Here we see former premier and vice-president of the South Vietnamese government, Nguyen Cao Ky, who arrived at the reception center at El Toro with many other refugees in 1975. The newspaper documents much of the movement of refugees through its doors.

Healing and Life Lessons of Napalm Survivor Kim Phuc

SOUTH VIETNAM. Trang Bang. June 8, 1972. South Vietnamese forces follow after frightened children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, centre, as they run down a road, after a South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped flaming napalm on its own troops and civilians. The terrified girl had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing.

This photo, taken by Vietnamese-born war photographer Nick Ut, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 and the World Press Photo of the Year award in 1972.


In the photograph that made Kim Phuc a living symbol of the Vietnam war, her burns aren’t visible – only her agony as she runs wailing toward the camera, her arms flung away from her body, naked because she has ripped off her burning clothes.

More than 40 years later she can hide the scars beneath long sleeves, but that betrays the pain she has endured since that errant napalm strike in 1972. While a photographer’s image froze that moment in time, life didn’t stand still for the little girl, and now Kim Phuc tells her story around the world to benefit other child victims of war.

Skin peels off Kim’s body.

Kim Phuc shows the burn scars on her back and arms after laser treatments and more than 40 years after napalm was dropped on her village. Photograph: Nick Ut/AP

At conferences, Phuc says her experience of war changed her life. “I owe my values and who I am today to that experience. Sometimes a terrible thing can happen, but if we are very lucky, we can learn from our experience, and it can even make us stronger.”

She grew up in a tiny village in South Vietnam, in a nice house with a big yard, playing with friends and riding her bicycle. “I felt safe, and loved. Before the war, I was never afraid.”

When a plane dropped four napalm bombs on the village, Phuc was badly burned. As she and her relatives fled, a group of journalists on the road outside the village captured the horror on film. They also tried to help: Ut himself drove Phuc to the nearest hospital.

Each time Phuc recounts her life at conferences, she describes it as a series of lessons learned.

The first lesson, she says, is to be strong in the face of pain.

“Napalm is the most terrible pain you can imagine. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200 degrees Celsius.”

Phuc had third-degree burns to half her body and was not expected to live. But she survived, enduring a 14-month hospital stay and 17 operations.

The second lesson, she says, is the importance of love. The compassion of doctors and nurses and the love of her family helped her recover. She also discovered that love can be tough. She was reluctant to do the daily exercises she needed to do because they were so painful, but her mother insisted. “I got better later on. I’m so grateful to my mother.”

While she spent years doing those painful exercises to preserve her range of motion, her left arm still doesn’t extend as far as her right arm, and her desire to learn how to play the piano has been thwarted by stiffness in her left hand. Tasks as simple as carrying her purse on her left side are too difficult.

“As a child, I loved to climb on the tree, like a monkey,” picking the best guavas, tossing them down to her friends, Phuc says.

“After I got burned, I never climbed on the tree anymore and I never played the game like before with my friends. It’s really difficult. I was really, really disabled.”

Phuc in hospital in 1972. She was nine when napalm was dropped on her village.

Phuc says that after the war, her family’s life was “very different and very difficult. “Our house was destroyed completely,” she said. “You have everything one day and suddenly you have nothing. I learned that you can lose everything, but if you have family love and God’s love, you have everything.”

Education has always been important to her. As a small child, she loved going to school. When she returned home after treatment, the first thing she wanted to do was go back to school. She dreamt of becoming a doctor, and studied hard despite the obstacles. But first because of the Vietnam War, and later because of the war with neighbouring Cambodia, life was dangerous and it was often difficult to attend school.

Another lesson Phuc learned, she says, was the importance of freedom. “I always had minders – people from the government whose job was to watch me every moment.”

When she was 19 years old, the Vietnamese government chose Phuc as their poster child, and would pick her up after school to give interviews to foreign journalists.

She begged to be allowed to go somewhere quiet for study, and was sent to Cuba, where she spent the next six years, although she eventually had to leave medical school because of her health. She began to dream of escaping. In 1992, Phuc married a North Vietnamese student at the University of Havana. The couple went to Moscow for their honeymoon, and on their return journey, when the plane stopped to refuel in Canada, they had just one hour to make their escape. The only belongings she had with her were a camera and a purse.

“Sometimes in our lives we need to take a risk,” she says.

Kim Phuc, today and on June 8, 1972.

The most difficult lesson of all was how to forgive. “It wasn’t easy. I didn’t just say one day ‘I forgive’. It took many doctors and operations to repair my body, but… it took the power of God’s love to heal my heart.”

In 1996, during a Veterans Day ceremony in Washington, D.C., Phuc met a former pilot who helped coordinate the airstrike on her village. The two embraced and she told him she forgave him. They have stayed in touch.

“Having known war, I know the value of peace. Having lived under government control, I know the value of freedom. Having lived with pain, I know the healing power of love. Having lived with poverty, losing everything and having nothing, I know how to value what I have. And the most important thing of all, having lived in hatred, terror, and corruption, I know the power of faith and forgiveness.”

She is grateful to have learned so many lessons. In 1997, Phuc established the Kim Foundation, a charitable organization to help child victims of war.

“A photographer happened to be on that road that day. But I can never forget the thousands of innocent children who didn’t have their picture taken and didn’t get help. These are the children I want to help.”

The last lesson has to do with the famous picture. “For many years, the picture controlled me. Then I realised that, if I could not escape the picture, I could work with it for peace. Now I travel, following my picture around the world as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO. My picture is a symbol of war, but my life is a symbol of love, hope, and forgiveness.”

Kim Phuc with her eldest son, Thomas, in 1995.

Now, more than 40 years after Kim Phuc was photographed, treatment in the US will also help ease the physical pain she still endures. Triggered by scarred nerve endings that misfire at random, her pain is especially acute when the seasons change in Canada.

Phuc says her Christian faith brought her physical and emotional peace “in the midst of hatred, bitterness, pain, loss, hopelessness,” when the pain seemed insurmountable.

“No operation, no medication, no doctor can help to heal my heart. The only one is a miracle, [that] God loves me,” she says. “I just wish one day I am free from pain.”

Now, she has a new chance to heal – a prospect she once thought possible only in a life after death.

“So many years I thought that I have no more scars, no more pain when I’m in heaven. But now – heaven on earth for me!” Phuc said upon her arrival in Miami to see a dermatologist who specialises in laser treatments for burn patients.

In September 2015, Phuc, 52, began a series of laser treatments that her doctor says will smooth and soften the pale, thick scar tissue that ripples from her left hand up her arm, up her neck to her hairline and down almost all of her back. Even more important to Phuc, the treatments also will relieve the deep aches and pains that plague her to this day.

Compared to the other surgeries and skin grafts when she was younger, the lasers were easier to take.

“This was so light, just so easy,” she said after her first session. “Maybe it takes a year. But I am really excited – and thankful.”

[Mix of several press articles]

Kim Phuc pictured in 2012 with Nick Ut, the photographer who made her childhood image famous. Photograph: Jae C. Hong/AP 

History’s Most Iconic Photographs Are Transformed From Black And White To Color

Alfred Eisenstaedt/Getty: Sailor kissing a nurse on ‘V-J Day’ in Times Square in 1945

Modern technology and the digital process of colorization has made it possible for history’s most iconic and famous photographs to be transformed from black and white into technicolor. The results are beautiful and enriching.

Below you will find photographs, which were taken by famous photographers such as Alfred Eisenstaedt and Dorothea Lange, among others.

Equally famous in history and popular culture, you will now have the opportunity to see the famous Times Square Kiss, Salvador Dali, and many others in color. 

Keep reading

Asians in Germany. Deutsch-Asiaten (German Asians) are German citizens of full or partial Asian descent. Asians have been present in Germany in small numbers since the 19th century and originate primarily from Vietnam, China, Thailand, India, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. Although Germany’s official census data does not collect specific data on ethnicity or “race”, the number of people with an Asian “migrant background” is listed in the statistics. As of 2011, there were about 1,890,000 people in Germany who descended from Southeast Asians, East Asians, Central Asians or South Asians. These numbers do NOT include Western Asians such as Turks, Jews, Arabs or Iranians, but do contain groups like Afghans or ethnic Russians from Central Asian countries.  

The first mentioned Asians in Germany were Chinese. In 1822 two Cantonese-speaking seafarers came to Berlin. They were employed as stoker on the ships in Hamburg and Bremen. During the 19th and 20th century, plenty of seamen and students resided in Hamburg-St. Pauli, forming a Chinatown. In Western Germany, a lot of Vietnamese people arrived in the 1960s or 1970s as refugees from the Vietnam War with the USA. The comparatively larger Vietnamese community in former East Germany traces its origins to assistance agreements between the DDR and the North Vietnamese government, under which guest workers were brought to East Germany, where they soon made up the largest immigrant group and were provided with technical training. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, many stayed in Germany. Since the early ‘90s there has been an influx of Thai people, South Koreans, Indonesians, and Filipinos coming to Germany as nurses, au pairs (babysitters), and other employees. In addition, illegal “immigration” from Vietnam via Eastern Europe is increasing significantly in the Eastern states. There are far more Thai and Filipino women than men in Germany, while the reverse holds true for Chinese and Indians. The Vietnamese community which now forms the largest group of Asians in Germany has a more equal male-female ratio. According to the “Mikrozensus 2011” there were about 1.8 million people with an Asian migrant background living in Germany. Of those, about 600,000 were of Southeast Asian descent, primarily from Vietnam and Thailand. People of full or part-Asian origin as defined above now make up about 2% of the population. Xavier Naidoo and Sabrina Setlur are 2 famous Asians in the music business.

The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People’s Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (also known as the Việt Cộng) on April 30, 1975. The event marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a transition period leading to the formal reunification of Vietnam into a socialist republic, governed by the Communist Party of Vietnam.

North Vietnamese forces, under the command of the General Văn Tiến Dũng, began their final ground attack on Saigon—opposed by South Vietnamese forces commanded by General Nguyễn Văn Toàn—on April 29.

By the afternoon of the next day, North Vietnamese troops had occupied the important points of the city and raised their flag over the South Vietnamese presidential palace. The South Vietnamese government capitulated shortly afterward. The city was renamed Hồ Chí Minh City, after the Democratic Republic’s President Hồ Chí Minh.

The fall of the city was preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians associated with the southern regime. The evacuation culminated in Operation Frequent Wind, the largest helicopter evacuation in history. In addition to the flight of refugees, the end of the war and institution of new rules by the communists contributed to a decline in the city’s population.

5

I’d like for some people to take the time and look at only a portion of my great grandfather’s work that survived the war. My great grand father was Le Van De, a famous silk screen painter in Vietnam that taught as a professor in France and has had one of his pieces displayed in the Vatican. Most of his work was reclaimed by the government after Saigon fell and my family had to evacuate, sadly he did not make it to America with the rest of my family. One of my favorite paintings is called “Vietnamese Madonna with her Child” in English and is the photo above of the woman with a baby. That was my great grandmother with my great aunt. You see the South Vietnamese flag and wonder why it’s there. Le Van De was the one who revived and designed the South Vietnamese flag that flows prominently here in Houston and many other areas. The reason I made this post is because I don’t want his work to die out just because the Vietnamese government still has it. Please At least look at it and admire the legacy he has left behind. If you have any more information on him or any sources of his artwork please contact me. My family is trying to reclaim what we can that’s left of his work. Thank you.

Rising sea level a threat to Vietnamese farmers

As sea levels rise, so the salt water is spreading further inland leading to saline intrusion and coastal erosion in Vietnam.

The Mekong River Delta is amongst the most vulnerable regions in South Vietnam. It is home to more than 17 million people and produces around half of the country’s rice harvest.

The Vietnamese government has stated that 40 percent of the delta could be submerged if sea levels rise by one meter in decades to come, as levels are currently rising at the rate of 3mm per year.

Climate change is believed to be causing the rise of sea levels, which in turn leads to an increase in salt content of water to land that is used for rice paddies, coconut groves and other crops.

As the crops fail to grow, so the livelihoods of millions of farmers and fishermen are threatened.

Residents in the low-lying delta have already been affected by more frequent typhoons and heavier floods, with some already seeing their livelihoods impacted.

As the weather is expected to become more extreme, so it could potentially force hundreds of thousands of people to flee from their homes. 

This is Thích Quảng Đức. As you can see, he is on fire. He lit himself on fire after leading a march of Buddhist monks to protest against Ngô Đình Diệm, the Catholic president of Vietnam from 1955 to 1963. Ngô Đình Diệm was part of a long and ongoing tradition of brutal asshole dictators who oppressed entire chunks of his population (in this case, Buddhists, who made up around 80% of the population) but still managed to attract massive American “investment” due to his pathological anti-communist stance.

In 1954 Vietnamese freedom fighters, the Viet Minh, had finally defeated the French colonial government in North Vietnam, which by then had been supported by U.S. funds amounting to more than $2 billion. Although the victorious assured religious freedom to all (most non-Buddhist Vietnamese were Catholics), due to huge anti-communist propaganda campaigns, many Catholics fled to the South. With the help of Catholic lobbies in Washington and Cardinal Spellman (the Vatican’s spokesman in U.S. politics, who later on would call the U.S. forces in Vietnam “Soldiers of Christ”), a scheme was concocted to prevent democratic elections which could have brought the communist Viet Minh to power in the South as well, and the fanatic Catholic Ngô Đình Diệm was made president of South Vietnam.

Diệm saw to it that U.S. aid, food, technical and general assistance was given to Catholics alone, Buddhist individuals and villages were ignored or had to pay for the food aids which were given to Catholics for free. The only religious denomination to be supported was Roman Catholicism.

The Vietnamese McCarthyism turned even more vicious than its American counterpart. By 1956 Diệm promulgated a presidential order which read:

“Individuals considered dangerous to the national defense and common security may be confined by executive order, to a concentration camp.”

Supposedly to fight communism, thousands of Buddhist protesters and monks were imprisoned in “detention camps.” Out of protest, dozens of Buddhist teachers (male and female) and monks poured gasoline over themselves and burned themselves. Meanwhile some of the prison camps, which in the meantime were filled with Protestant and even Catholic protesters as well, had turned into straight-up death camps. During this period of terror (1955-1960) at least 80,000 people were executed, 275,000 had been detained or tortured, and about 500,000 were sent to the detention camps.

We hear a lot about the Vietnam War and how awful it was and how American soldiers suffered when they came home and so on. We don’t hear a lot about how if affected the Vietnamese people (at least two million of whom were killed in the war, as opposed to fifty-eight thousand Americans), and we certainly don’t hear much about the religious bullshit which caused a good chunk of the war. Even some Vietnamese friends of mine have never heard of Ngô Đình Diệm. 

The given history of Vietnam is: the end of the French occupation, some “stuff” happened, and then the US was at war. That “stuff” was the US support for Diệm, and everything that happened in Vietnam afterwards was a reaction to that.

Both the Vietnamese government and the US failed to recognise that it takes a lot for a guy to burn himself in the village square, and that this was not the action of an isolated lunatic; he had the support of more or less the entire Buddhist community in Saigon.

Now you know.

Malaysia Airlines loses contact with plane flying to Beijing

Malaysia Airlines says it has lost contact with a plane travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 people on board.

The airline said in a statement that flight MH370 disappeared at 02:40 local time on Saturday (18:40 GMT on Friday).

It had been expected to land in Beijing at 06:30 (22:30 GMT).

The plane went off the radar in Vietnamese airspace, according to a statement on the Vietnamese government website.

Its last known location was south of Vietnam’s Ca Mau peninsular although the exact position was not clear, it said.

HOW DOES A PLANE JUST DISAPPEAR. this is scary. and real.

I’m not sorry for all the eurovision on tumblr right now because america dominates this stupid website at all other times. Seriously almost all news is about what’s going on in the land of eagles.

When people write “the government” which one do they mean? The vietnamese government? You dominate so much that you don’t ever have to specify this, the same goes for things like “our president” and “the elections”

And all you thanksgiving and 4th of july blogging is just as intense as our eurovision blogging.

I realize that this is an american website, but it’s just something that annoys me and that i wish you would be aware of.

3

Thích Quảng Đức (1897 – 11 June 1963, born Lâm Văn Túc), was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963. Quang Duc was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government led by Ngô Đình Diệm.

In Hard Times, Open Dissent and Repression Rise in Vietnam

By Thomas Fuller, NY Times, April 23, 2013
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam–His bookshelves are filled with the collected works of Marx, Engels and Ho Chi Minh, the hallmarks of a loyal career in the Communist Party, but Nguyen Phuoc Tuong, 77, says he is no longer a believer. A former adviser to two prime ministers, Mr. Tuong, like so many people in Vietnam today, is speaking out forcefully against the government.

“Our system now is the totalitarian rule of one party,” he said in an interview at his apartment on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. “I come from within the system–I understand all its flaws, all its shortcomings, all its degradation,” he said. “If the system is not fixed, it will collapse on its own.”

The party that triumphed over American-backed South Vietnamese forces in 1975 is facing rising anger over a slumping economy and is rived by disputes pitting traditionalists who want to maintain the country’s guiding socialist principles and a monopoly on power against those calling for a more pluralist system and the full embrace of capitalism.

Perhaps most important, the party is struggling to reckon with a society that is better informed and more critical because of news and opinion that spread through the Internet, circumventing the state-controlled news media.

Since unifying the country 38 years ago, the Communist Party has been tested by conflicts with China and Cambodia, financial crises and internal rifts. The difference today, according to Carlyle A. Thayer, one of the leading foreign scholars of Vietnam, is that criticism of the leadership “has exploded across the society.”

In an otherwise authoritarian environment, divisions in the party have actually helped encourage free speech because factions are eager to tarnish one another, Dr. Thayer said.

“There’s a contradiction in Vietnam,” he said. “Dissent is flourishing, but at the same time, so is repression.”

As dissident voices have multiplied among Vietnam’s 92 million people, the government has tried to crack down. Courts have sentenced numerous bloggers, journalists and activists to prison, yet criticism, especially online, continues seemingly unabated. The government blocks certain Internet sites, but many Vietnamese use software or Web sites to maneuver around the censorship.

“Many more people are trying to express themselves than before, criticizing the government,” said Truong Huy San, an author, journalist and well-known blogger. “And what they are saying is much more severe.”

For casual visitors to Vietnam, surface evidence of economic progress may make it hard to understand the deep pessimism that many express in the country. Millions of people who a decade ago had only bicycles now speed around on motor scooters past factories and office towers.

The economy blossomed in the 1990s after reforms gave birth to Vietnam’s awkward mix of a market economy closely chaperoned by the Communist Party. Even now, the Vietnamese economy is still projected to grow at about 4 percent to 5 percent this year, thanks in part to strong exports of rice, coffee and other agricultural products.

But the real estate market is frozen by overcapacity, banks are saddled with bad loans, newspapers are running articles about rising unemployment, and the country is ranked among some of the world’s most corrupt by Transparency International, a global corruption monitor. (The country ranks 123rd on a list of 176, in which those with low numbers are the least corrupt.)

Vietnamese business people complain of overbearing government regulations imposed by a party that believes it can be the vanguard of capitalist enterprises.

And many say that Vietnam is directionless, despite its seemingly irrepressible industriousness and youthful population.

“In my 21 years here I’ve never seen this level of disenchantment with the system among the intelligentsia and entrepreneurs,” said Peter R. Ryder, the chief executive of Indochina Capital, an investment company in Vietnam. “There’s very meaningful debate within the business community and within the party–people who are superconcerned about the direction that the country is going.”

Mr. Tuong, the Marxist scholar, says he has been eager to promote change since his days as adviser to Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet, who helped overhaul the economy in the 1990s.

But today he feels the pressure of time. He has cancer, though it appears to be in remission, and he talks about the disease as a sort of intellectual liberation spurring him to tell what he now views as the truth.

“In a nutshell, Marx is a great thinker,” he said. “But if we never had Marx it would have been even better.”