"Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom" - Ho Chi Minh's legacy 50 years on
The 2nd of September marks a national holiday in Vietnam in various ways. On 2 September 2 1945 Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Republic of Vietnam and thus independence. Twenty-four years later, in 1969, he died on the same day in Hanoi. He was not able to experience a united and free Vietnam and yet today is considered to be one of the most important fathers of this country, which had to defend itself again and again throughout history against invaders and foreign domination."Uncle Ho", as he is known in Vietnam, is still omnipresent. His political ideas and thoughts continue to be discussed and used to legitimize political decisions. His likeness can be seen on many billboards and in every public building. He also looks on at the spectators in stadiums, decorates shops or restaurants, and is visible on every single bill of the country's currency. Since the end of the Vietnam War, the country's largest metropolis is named after him—Ho-Chi-Minh-City. Ho Chi Minh was and is of great importance not only for the population and development of Vietnam.
In divided Germany, he became a key figure on both sides and in the course of the 1968 movement against the proxy war in Vietnam and the road to a more socially equitable and freer society. Vietnam was one of the main goals of the solidarity movement in this year and politicized many people worldwide.
An intensive discussion in Germany about Ho Chi Minh and his thoughts already lies 50 years back. Of course, today the world is different and both countries have long been reunited. With increasing globalization, new opportunities for Vietnam emerge to escape from the stagnation of past decades. At the same time, there are new challenges rising along with the integration into the world market.
Beside all this spirit of optimism, what is left of the legacy of this man whose biggest dream was to see a peaceful, independent and internationally integrated Vietnam? What do we still know about him in Germany and how is Ho Chi Minh seen, received, and understood in Vietnam today?
To help answer these questions and provide insight into the Vietnam discussion today, the Regional Office of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Southeast Asia is publishing the following four articles on the 50th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh's death.
We spoke with Dr. Tran Tuan Phong, the Deputy Director of the Philosophical Institute of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. In addition to the importance of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnamese society today, we talked about ideas of international solidarity and what significance it can still have today.
Furthermore, there are two articles of the journal Political Theory issued by the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics. They deal with the ideas of Ho Chi Minh and their significance for the decisions of the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Vietnam.
The first paper by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Ngoc Anh deals with the central thoughts of Ho Chi Minh on Vietnam's international integration. His vision was an independent and united Vietnam, which would maintain good international relations with all countries regardless of the prevailing political systems.
The second paper by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Trong Phuc deals with the ideas of Ho Chi Minh about unity and the right of independence and the simultaneous observance of the human rights on national as well as international level. He saw this as a central element on the way to liberate the country.
They will be published in both English and German language to reflect the ongoing debate in Vietnam, but remain uncommented.
Author: Philip Degenhardt and Christian Süper