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Vietnam’s Passion Remains Overpowering

* As a young Vietnamese American, I found Daniel C. Tsang’s piece on the pro-democracy demonstrations in Little Saigon offensive, unfair and misleading (Opinion, Jan. 31).

His characterization of young Vietnamese Americans does not describe me, nor does it represent the majority of my Vietnamese American peers.

Tsang’s ignorant assertions are not surprising considering he did not even bother to verify the name of the country about which he wrote.

The country is called the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and not the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. As a librarian, Tsang must appreciate the importance of words. Unfortunately for the people still trapped in Vietnam, there is a world of difference between socialism and democracy.

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Tsang’s superficial analysis of the politics in Little Saigon and condescending social commentary on young Vietnamese Americans betray his ignorance of the true sentiments of the Vietnamese American community.

They are also poor attempts to debase legitimate and commendable efforts on the part of Vietnamese Americans, young and old, to promote democracy and human rights in Vietnam.

Mislabeling the names of organizations and their actions by using psychological trigger words such as “Lost Commandos” and “redbaiting” reveals the lack of substance behind his statements.

Tsang’s senseless injection of homosexuality, political party affiliation and social activism into his argument only made it less convincing. His assumption that homosexuals, Democrats and social activists would not be opposed to the ongoing human rights abuses in Vietnam is plain wrong.

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While Little Saigon may mean little more to Tsang then a few blocks on Bolsa Avenue, for Vietnamese Americans it reflects the blending of Vietnamese culture and democracy. It is the symbolic capital of all Vietnamese political refugees.

The displaying of the Communist flag and the picture of Ho Chi Minh in Little Saigon pained and offended Vietnamese refugees throughout the world. It was sad to see freedom prostituted to promote a government so adamantly opposed to democracy and a tyrant opposed to free speech.

We oppose and condemn communism because it is the antithesis of freedom and democracy. The Communist government in Vietnam retains power through oppression and intimidation.

While Tsang wants to discredit the sincere efforts of Vietnamese Americans to bring freedom to Vietnamese by mischaracterizing us as “shady anti-communists,” his ignorant diatribe cannot change the fact that basic human rights are being trampled upon by the Hanoi regime.

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The Vietnamese American community’s cries for freedom and democracy for Vietnam will not be silenced.

LE TRAN

Huntington Beach

* The recent events in Little Saigon are filled with ironies.

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One is the Vietnamese merchant who elected to display the Communist icons while claiming to be a political refugee; the icons represent the brutally oppressive regime he’d escaped from.

Another irony involves some demonstrators who professed their absolute love for freedom yet were determined to keep this merchant from exercising his right to freedom of speech.

I do share the pain and anguish with the countless Vietnamese who had endured the tyranny of communism when I see the despicable icons on display.

But I applaud the court in upholding the individual’s constitutional right to political speech in this case--just as it sided with the American flag-burners of the ‘60s.

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I know in the desire to have my freedom protected I have to learn to respect the opinions of others, no matter how objectionable theirs are.

This acceptance is a hard lesson in Democracy 101. Along with millions of Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans, I very much want to see a free Vietnam in the near future. That cannot happen without acceptance of freedom for all.

JEFFREY DUONG

Santa Ana

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* The Freedom Socialist Party stands in solidarity with Mr. Truong Van Tran and his wife, Kim Thi Nguyen, who are bravely facing down right-wing thugs and bullies for the right to display a poster of Ho Chi Minh in their video store in Westminster.

Not only do we join them in exercising their constitutional rights, we also

strongly support all efforts to discuss socialist and communist ideas.

Some U.S. soldiers who fought in that mistaken war in Vietnam 25 years ago thought they were fighting to preserve the U.S. Constitution and its 1st Amendment provisions. How ironic that the people they went to support are now trying to crush a dissident voice here in the States.

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Many of our members came of age during the Vietnam War and participated in the antiwar movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s. We organized and demonstrated time after time until the United States was forced to quit the war. We are extremely proud that our activities helped bring an end to that war and left the Vietnamese masters of their own fate.

Our organization is dedicated to building an economic alternative to the capitalist system that enriches so very few and impoverishes and injures so many here and around the world. We defend everyone’s right to promote anti-capitalist and pro-labor ideas.

YOLANDA ALANIZ

Organizer, Los Angeles Freedom

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Socialist Party

* The waste of taxpayers’ dollars is appalling. Why should we pay to protect the pro-communist 1st Amendment rights?

I suggest that Truong Van Tran return to Vietnam, where his display of Ho Chi Minh’s picture and the Communist flag will be patriotic.

I further suggest that he exercise his 1st Amendment rights to make any disparaging comment regarding the policies or actions of the Communist leaders. Within a few hours he will be jailed, found guilty of treason and imprisoned for life or executed.

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He not only angered the Vietnamese who had lost their loved ones but also taunted responsible Vietnamese American leaders. Who has encouraged him to this course of action?

REGINA E. POGER

Cypress

* Can someone please tell me why it is permitted to hang Communist icons in public in this country but not to hang the Ten Commandments on an office wall?

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I’ve been laboring under the impression that the United States is a free, Christian country! Am I wrong? If I am, then God have mercy on us all.

MAIDIE HOHENER

Santa Ana


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