Friday, 26 August 2011

“The best General in Vietnam is the people of Vietnam, nation of Vietnam”

Source: Wikipedia
Today is the 100th birthday of legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap, Commander-in-Chief of Vietnam People’s Army during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and the Vietnam War.

There should be no more words to write about his impressive history as we could find many articles about the General in Vietnamese and International Newspapers today. This special day reminds me of an interview I did with him three years ago.

Photo: Van Thanh Pham, VTV
That was when he had been in medical treatment for his health. I started to think that he could die (note: in my culture, it is difficult to speak of ‘death’). I asked my supervisor for an interview with the General as I actually thought it might be the last time I could do so. Then we called the General’s secretary and got the answer: “in a bad situation, call later”. 

We waited for a day and then we got the message: “the General has agreed, this afternoon, in hospital”. 

Photo: Van Thanh Pham, VTV
We were thrilled and promptly went to the hospital an hour before the interview, waiting with worry.

Finally, General Vo Nguyen Giap was sitting in front of me.

I asked no question about his victories, or his glory.

He shared his feelings about the nation, and its people in the past, and present.

When he talked about Vietnamese women, he was in tears. He said Vietnamese wives and mothers had been at a disadvantage during the war. His first wife died in a French colonial prison when she was fighting for independence and freedom of the nation. But I knew that the General’s tears were not only for his wife, but for every wife and mother whose husbands and sons died or have been suffering pain after the war; as well as for their own sacrifice. 

His emotional behavior seemed unusual for a military leader. But I discovered that he is not only the General of military, but also a General of humanity.

That time I also understood why he said the best General in Vietnam is the people of Vietnam, the nation of Vietnam.
That is why people, from Vietnamese to foreign leaders of state, from high-ranking to ordinary people, from the friends to the enemies wish to meet and talk with him whenever they have opportunity

Thinking of you, we are stronger, braver and more benevolent.

In this day, I wish you longevity.

Links for other articles about General Vo Nguyen Giap


  1. People are the most important wealth for a country. A strong country should pay enough attention to people's needs, and work for them. A good leader is from people, and is a representative selected by people.

  2. What a statement for a Vietnamese general. One can say that it is no special for a Vietnamese politician to say so. But one still can argue that what is right is right still however cliche.

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