Vietnam: The Quickly Shifting Values and the War
We all come from different cultures. I happen to be mixed - half American, half Vietnamese. I decided to write this essay about the Vietnamese side of my family from my mother. Vietnam has some interesting history, but everything changed when the communists arrived. Before the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong, a communist party inspired by the Chinese, came to try to take over the South. Near the time of the war, the Viet Cong worked with the communists when they became all powerful to steal land and money from the wealthy and imprison them if they tried to leave Vietnam. If the newly communist government found out that you tried to escape, you would be held captive for a lengthy period of time. Although the old regime in Vietnam promoted democratic and fair values, such as the rulers being elected by the vote of the majority of the population, the invasion of the Communists resulted in a new regime that promoted selfishness and oppression (such as not being allowed to voice your opinion). My mother's family held and practiced the values of kindness and goodwill, but discovered that to uphold these values, they could no longer stay in the new regime.
In Vietnam before the war, there were many values before the event of the Communists. The Communists invaded Vietnam in 1975 after the South side lost the Vietnam War. Before the war of Vietnam, there were strong values of democracy and fairness as there were elections and the majority ruled. These elections were fair and not controlled by the government. My mother told me how before the communists took over, the Vietnamese who worked for the American soldiers did not face discrimination like they did when the communists invaded. She also told me how the Vietnamese with a normal amount of wealth did not have their property and valuables taken away from them.
According to History.com, in 1976, the communists had official power over Vietnam. The United States had stepped away as President Richard Nixon ordered. The North side of Vietnam arrived in full force and finally invaded the last of the non communist parts of Vietnam. During this time, the communists targeted the non-communists and took their money and belongings away. According to an interview with my mother and The Guardian, the communists targeted the wealthy by taking away their homes to use as their headquarters, their land, and any valuables that stood out. Those who tried to escape were held as prisoners. My mother and her family tried to escape Vietnam after their home and land were taken away. When the communists first arrived, they took away my family’s papers, their passports, money, and belongings. When they tried to escape by boat, the communists caught them and held them captive in prison for many years. My aunts and uncles were kept in prison for a certain amount of time. Younger women had lesser sentences, and older men had greater sentences. My mother’s eldest brother had escaped successfully by boat a few years before my mother and her siblings escaped to the US. As soon as my mother got out of prison, she and her family bought airplane tickets to the US and left. The event profoundly impacted my mother’s family. They were forced to develop many different values and their views of Vietnam had changed. Their once peaceful homeland had turned into a dangerous, unyielding, hellish place.
Vietnam’s values had changed ever since the communists invaded. My mother’s family realized that the communists promoted selfishness and oppression. The selfishness was how everyone tended to themselves, did not help others, and tried to hoard everything so no one else could get to it. This was because the communists would take all their belongings away, so the only way to prevent that was to hide it and keep a large stock of it. According to the BBC, oppression arose because the rulers were picked by the government. The leaders were communist, the whole government was communist, so you had to listen to what they told you to do. You were not allowed to voice your opinion or do anything permitted in pre-communist Vietnam. With these new values, my mother’s family was forced to make an important decision. To stay in Vietnam and practice these horrible values, or to leave Vietnam, start a new life in a new place, and practice the values they were taught as young children in old Vietnam.
In conclusion, the rise of communism in Vietnam heavily influenced my mother and her family’s life. Communism invaded Vietnam, which caused them to make a decision on which values to follow. As the country developed new and bad values, they were forced to uphold their original values by leaving Vietnam and starting a new life.