Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Danish State Visit to Vietnam
The official events have kicked off with the formal start of the Danish Royal Family's state visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Communist Party General-Secretary Nong Duc Manh was on hand for the festivities as was the current incarnation of national founder Ho Chi Minh, President Nguyen Minh Triet. Their were reviews of the troops of the People's Army of Vietnam, dinners and of course the ceremonial wreath laying at the tomb of President Ho Chi Minh, founding dictator of the communist regime. Now, I point this out not to criticize HM Queen Margrethe II, who is one of my favorites, she has nothing to do with these sort of decisions and the governments handle everything; this is part of the usual diplomatic routine. However, I also cannot deny that it pains me to see someone like Queen Margrethe II, or any such leader, paying hommage to a brutal, murderous communist dictator like Ho Chi Minh. Off-hand I cannot think of any other such state that insists on similar sychophancy. Nor are the crimes of the Ho Chi Minh regime confined to the past. Recently Rome Reports did a story on the continued oppression of Catholics in Vietnam. They are, of course, not alone as anyone is persecuted who speaks out against the communist party or, as is more often the case, anyone who is suspected of being in opposition. The Catholic Church has tried to assure the leaders in Hanoi, as they have tried in Beijing, that they are not a threat to the local political system (they probably cannot understand why communist governments cannot accept them but ignore them as is standard procedure in the west) but there remains no official diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the Holy See because the Communist Party sees all religion as a threat. Monarchs like Queen Margrethe II must often make the best of bad situations, and congratulations to Her Majesty for having the strength to do it, but I would also like everyone to remember the true nature of the man and the government that was being honored in Hanoi.
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I've just begun reading your blog last month or so and I'm catching up on previous posts.ReplyDelete
My mother is a Vietnamese Catholic who was fortunate to have left in 1975. She recently told me about a gathering of those she went to high school with, at a Catholic High School. She showed me pictures where the government made them take down part of their banner that alluded to the great times of the past.
I go to a church with a woman who's relative was jailed for a time after the fall of Saigon and lost his eyes. He's now "allowed" to be a priest but, as with everyone, they are closely monitored.
Thank you for this post.
Christians, like all other religions, are still persecuted by the government in Vietnam -which doesn't get much attention outside of the exile community. I find it interesting that the persecution of Catholics was the pretext for French involvement in Vietnam and in the end the last Emperor himself became a Catholic and his children were all raised Catholic by their mother. Had the communists & republicans not been successful Vietnam would have a Catholic monarch today.ReplyDelete