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"One-way reconciliation": It would hurt more instead of healing.


October 23, 2011 

The Sydney Morning Herald

New South Wales, Australia


Dear Editor,

            My name is Nguyen CongBang, and I am a Vietnamese American citizen. Although I do not live in Australia, I am concerned about the proposal of the reconciliation parade with the North Vietnamese Army, to coincide with next year's 50th anniversary of Australia's involvement in the war.

            I do believe that true reconciliation is needed to normalize relationships between the Vietnamese people and people of all the countries involved in the Vietnam War. The people themselves are not responsible for whatever policies were made during the conflict, and friendships should be fully restored. Reconciliation with the Viet Cong (North and South armies) should also be considered if they really intend to do so with good will. However, in reality, the communist government of Vietnam has not yet reconciled with the former members of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam's government) who are still living in the country or who reside overseas. If they are not willing to reconcile with their own Vietnamese fellows how could they really reconcile with others?

            I believe many would agree with a final reconciliation if the Viet Cong agreed to reconcile with everyone, including the former members of government of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN). The parade should not be conducted only in overseas but also in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam today, and in Saigon, the former capital of South Vietnam with the presense of the ARVN’s members and their national flag. If the communist government of Vietnam agreed, then the reconciliation would be real and greatly honored.

            The Vietnam War was the longest conflict in which Australians have been involved which lasted 10 years (from 1962 to 1972). For those 521 Australians who died as a result of the war and the more than 3,000 who were wounded, it is worthwhile for the government of Australia to consider the protest of the ARVN’s members. The contribution of those who sacrificed and the other 60,000 personnel involved should not be overlooked. Otherwise, it would be a “one-way reconciliation”, and it would hurt more, instead of healing.

            As a soldier of the ARVN I salute all members of the Australian army who contributed to the efforts of helping Vietnam fight against the communists' expansion. We have failed to save the free South Vietnam, but I hope we will not fail against this propaganda war. —


* Mr. Nguyen CongBang was a member of Republic of Vietnam's Army. He is a democracy activist and residing in Texas, USA. He can be contacted via email at: congbang@vnpp.net0