Safeguarding the homeland

I have been studying a four-year degree program at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu, USA, for almost two years. Over that time, there is one thing that always surprises me. Many professors at the school have very strong interests in our country’s politics.

Be cautious with a hidden motive behind a friendly talk! (Photo: Ngoc Linh)

I understand that political factors have strong effects on the economic development of a country. However, some professors have interests in our country’s democracy, human rights and relations with our neighboring countries. Moreover, the professors usually sent articles on Asia Times Online for us to read. These articles often provide distorted information and negative opinions about our country. For example, when I studied the module on Asian finance, taught by Professor David F. Day, we were sent many articles to read by writer Duy Hoang, a US-based leader of the so-called Vietnam Reform Party (Viet Tan group).

There are many articles by Duy Hoang, especially the article “Uncomfortable Anniversary in Vietnam,” published September 10, 2008 on Asia Times Online, which include various distorted information about our country’s democracy and sovereignty.

These articles have surely created disturbing thoughts for Vietnamese students at my university. Prof. Day usually asked our opinions about democracy and human rights in our country. With limited understanding about politics, many students gave negative opinions about social issues without understanding that these issues bare no relation with the political issues. Many Vietnamese students do not realize that their opinions could be twisted against our country.

If Prof. David Day wants to know about our country, he should contact our government agencies in Vietnam and outside of Vietnam to obtain the information. Why does he need to ask opinions from Vietnamese students on this sensitive matter. I wonder what reason Prof. Day sent these articles to us because the author of such work is the US-based leader of Viet Tan Association, which is an anti-Vietnamese government group.

The war ended more than 30 years. Our generation has grown-up in peace and in a time of rapid economic development. We are enjoying the results paid for by the tears and blood of our fathers’ generation, but many of us have forgotten thoughts to protect our country.

I believe that Vietnamese students, especially overseas Vietnamese students like myself, should be cautious in order to not be used as propaganda by anti-Vietnamese government groups. Our country is not yet immune from overseas groups who usually publish distorted information about human rights and democracy in Vietnam.

These groups are effortlessly working to create a bad image of the Vietnam government with the Vietnamese youth inside and outside Vietnam.

People, like Prof. Day, as well as the authors of the articles on Asia.net, will bring negative thoughts about our country to young people.

By Tran Ngoc Linh*

* The author is a Vietnamese student studying at the University of Hawaii,  Manoa, Honolulu, USA

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