I read with great interest the story by Amanda Jones, "A Bridge to Vietnam's Past" (May 13), introducing us to some of Vietnam's ethnic minorities, the Red Dao and Black Hmong. I want to congratulate Jones on her desire to seek out people of diverse cultures, far off the beaten path.
However, the picture she paints for us is an idyllic one in which minorities are allowed to maintain vestiges of their culture amid a Communist society. Unfortunately, there is much more to this story.
Had Jones visited Vietnam's Central Highlands, home of the Montagnard people, she would have written a different article. In fact, there would have been no article, because the Central Highlands have been closed to visitors since February. Frustrated by religious persecution, government interference and the loss of ancient homelands, thousands of Montagnards have staged demonstrations. They were met by riot police and military force.