Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Let`s Call a Spade a Spade

I now realize that not even the loyal congregation of Ho Chi Minh are immune to the appeal of “New Labour” and Mr Blair. Up until recently I had thought that the only people susceptible to Tony´s political gospel were left leaning politicians who have been sitting for too long on the cold opposition benches. I was obviously very wrong.

I also naively believed that among other things the foremost characteristic of a communist regime was the introduction of social equality. Am I therefore just plain stupid for being surprised when a tour guide wearing Dolce & Gabana jeans rushes us through an area in the Mekong Delta where the half clothed and shoeless children beg for money with plastic cups. Is this what the “Socialist Republic of Vietnam” amounts to?

“Scapered Skylines, glitzy shopping malls and get rich quick lifestyles” is the description of one in-flight magazine feature. I am certainly no expert on communism or socialist mantras for that matter, however it does seem odd that a present day Vietnam city should be described as such. Furthermore having a read a plethora of such insightful articles and in light of what I can see for myself on the Vietnam streets I truly cannot see what differentiates the economic policies of this country from those of any European or American fiscal models.

Hence I am starting to believe that not so very long ago Vietnam sent 3 million of their soldiering sons to their untimely deaths for a mere happy medium if even that. So what was their so called “American War” all about? Communist or capitalist, nobody in their right mind can seriously deny that the war now seems to have been for nothing. In my view it would have been better to welcome the American troops with open arms. Ultimately it would have been the same result with the same quantity of coca cola consumed, the same quantity of dollars in circulation but also of course 3 million less grieving mothers.

After the soap operas of European politics and from what I have seen on my travels, I no longer know where I stand in terms of left and right. In fact I find both camps equally pathetic. I do however know that I am unequivocally anti-war but nonetheless try to convince myself that those who fight ideological wars do so because whether mistaken or not they find themselves incapable of betraying these closely held ideas. Clearly such reasoning is of little use in pseudo communist Vietnam where the only hint of red is on their ever more irrelevant flag.

I readily admit that no system is perfect. All have their failures. However what irks me is the complete and enthusiastic abandonment in such a short space of time of something for which they shed so much blood of their own and others. Perhaps it was all just a ruse to gain unopposed political power. After all nothing will line your pockets better than a good old political monopoly with a touch of rouge and some sporadic hard handed oppression.

in a country where hotels and food are cheap, life is even cheaper.

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