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Do Van Phuc is a former VNAF Captain (20th AF Tactical Base, 2nd Air Division). The following article is his speech at the meeting with the Vietnamese American Students Association/University of Texas and the Vietnamese Youth League at Austin. Thank you for sending us your wholehearted materials.

Duty of Youth

By Do Van Phuc


       Dear young fellow Vietnamese Americans.

It is my great pleasure to be attending this very important event as your new Executive Board is introduced to the community and is beginning its new term with full strength and hope. I would like tonight to talk about one subject that you might be very interested in: "The Nation's Existence Power and The Duty of the Youth." Then you and I will be discussing things to decide upon the best solution for the future to save our people. A people that, for decades, have been oppressed and exploited by the Communists.

Duty of Youth

      The basic law of nature that affects all living creatures proves that whoever, whatever is stronger will survive; likewise, the weaker will be overcome or even exterminated. That is the fierce struggle for existence. Plants and animals have to stand against nature, fight against other species, and even battle among themselves. There are three vital factors in an effort to survive: physical strength, strong will, and the ability to adapt to new circumstances. Over thousands of years, the history of humankind is one of unceasing struggles: struggle against nature, struggle between peoples and nations; civil struggle domestically within nations, as well as the internal struggle within one's self. During these times of struggle, there has never been a long lasting peace where people have been able to enjoy a harmonious, friendly co-existence.

Since the early years when our forefather King Hung founded the kingdom of Van Lang, our people, the Vietnamese people, have grown from a small tribe lodging along the Red river in Southeast Asia to become a powerful nation whose influence has spanned over the entire Indochina peninsula. During its expansion to the south, seeking colonies to survive and develop, Vietnam eliminated two other kingdoms that were no less powerful. In turn, Vietnam faced the threat of extinction by its great neighbor to the north, China. After Vietnam declared its independence in 937 A.D., ambitious Chinese dynasties, claiming Vietnam to be a district of China, sent troops to invade our country dozens of times only to be bitterly defeated and driven away. Because of their patriotism and courage, our forefathers were able to defend the country we should inherit all today. Our forefathers not only achieved the brilliant military victories, but also protected our country's distinguished culture, adapted the essence of other cultures to create a unique cultural bed of multicolored flowers. Such brave people deserve to exist, to develop, and to last forever.

After 80 years under the French domination followed by nearly half century under Communism, our country today is at the brink of decadence. Tens of millions of our people exist at the lowest living standard in the world. Without human rights, civil liberties, they have become slaves in their own homeland ruled by the iron hand of the Communists. There have not been any freedom movements that have been strong enough to overthrow the tyranny even though Communism was denounced and has collapsed in its birthplace Russia as well as other Eastern European nations. The Vietnamese Communist mobsters have clung to the rotten and outdated Marxism to maintain their power, their privileges, disregarding the misery of their fellow people. Many may speculate that our people lack vitality for allowing themselves to be oppressed and exploited for decades without uprising. I do not believe that to be the case. My answer to such speculation would be that the hidden potential that has accumulated in thousands of years of struggling throughout our people's history needs only a chance and favorable conditions for a revolution to begin.

Throughout world history there are valuable lessons of nation revival. Germany after being defeated in WW1 (1914-1918) was bound by disadvantageous international treaties and a totally exhausted economy. Within 20 years of persistent efforts, the Germans rebuilt their country to be the most powerful one in Europe. In 1939, Germany started World War II, occupying most of the countries of Europe and establishing the 3rd Reich Empire. After thousands of years of being dispersed throughout the world and suffering the mass extermination attempt of the holocaust in Nazi concentration camps, the Jewish people returned to their promised land with bare hands. On this poor land of only sand, scarce water, and scorching temperatures, the state of Israel was rebuilt and has survived numerous attacks by its more populous and wealthy neighboring Arab countries. Very close to us is the example of Japan's revival after WW II to become the number one economic competitor to its conqueror, the United States. Those three peoples – the Germans, the Israelis, and the Japanese – were able to achieve their extraordinary goals because of their high spirit of nationalism, unity, sacrifice, and responsibility. Giving credit where credit is due, we must also take in to account the talented leadership that placed the national interests above all else. Their young men and women were well educated and equipped with just cause and ideology. Compared to the peoples above, the Vietnamese people are no less capable in terms of patriotism, initiative, persistence, and responsibility. During the 20-year bloody war against the aggression from the Communist North Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese young men and women responded to the call of the motherland to join the armed forces. They left behind their loved ones and happy life to face the daily dangers of the battlefields. They left, knowing full well that the war would be long lasting and there would be no safe return. The youth from North Vietnam, indoctrinated by the Communist party, engaged in the war with their hot blood and patriotism believing they were fighting to liberate the country as well. The truth they did not understand was the dream of the expansion of Communism in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the confusion about the right and wrong causes of the war resulted in pro-communist beliefs among the common Vietnamese countrymen as well. Once fallen into the communist control, it has beenvery difficult to overturn. Of all the dictatorship regimes, Communism is the most barbarous one; of all the Communist regimes, the Vietnamese Communism is the cruelest one. Its control system is so sophisticated; its prison system so ruthless that no individuals could retain their physical and mental strength. Every resistance movement is smashed from its beginning. Our people keep struggling with whatever capacity: sometime as violent as Quynh Luu uprising and the Buddhist movement; other times as quiet as uncooperative manners in economic and cultural fronts. The people of South Vietnam have won in the later fronts but yet have not been able to overthrow the tyranny. The ultimate strike in a revolution is military action but the international community does not support that course of action. We already know the Achilles' heel of the Communist regime, but so far, we are lacking of a unified front and a charismatic leadership.

For nearly one hundred years through different regimes, political leaders of all sides have conducted deceitful acts to gain power and then betray our people. The Vietnamese people have no faith in such so-called leaders. The older generation (our parents) grew up and educated in a feudalist society, and was helpless. There were too few good men to successfully lead the nation in overcoming such a difficult situation. Our generation was a bit better but also could not overcome the corruption. There were too many factors that were out of our control. Today, in this country, Vietnamese American community has become a notable group. Hundreds of organizations have been founded; but it is hard to know who are truly patriots. Some have gained good reputations and have been attacked by competitors; others were faced off due to their use of deception for their own interests. Many of the activists and their supporters have become disappointed and almost given up. The destiny of a nation is never to be seen as a thing for people to sell and buy on market but is ultimately sacred to everyone that inherits the same history and tradition. Once devoted to it, we must sacrifice ourselves to serve it with all of our hearts and capabilities.

Dear young men and women, you are the hope and future of our country. You have achieved a high level of education with an understanding of high technology that is needed for the development of our country. You have learned and have exercised the freedom and democracy that is vital to the building of our future regime. You have nothing bad to be blamed for. We know each of you are eager to get involved in the redemption and reconstruction of our motherland. You are the true mighty force our people are seeking. To overthrow Communism will not be easy, but the reconstruction of the nation in the post- Communist era will be much more difficult. We will have to start from a negative balance since all traditional values have been uprooted; the Communists have brutally transformed generations of our people into slaves rather than proud citizens contributing to a just cause. National resources have been heavily exploited; whatever could be made available has been sold to foreigners. The Communists have taught only hate and vengeance rather than love and care. Any future leader of a free Vietnam will have to deal with dangerous and complicated multi- tasks. We have learned from Russia and other former-communist countries in Eastern Europe that, once freed of communist repression, the people place the desire for material comforts ahead of other things. This can be done only with a magic wand. The foremost task in rebuilding the country is to educate a new generation to replace those indoctrinated by the inhumane Communists. To us, the free Vietnamese people, every man and woman in our society is both a valuable subject and a master of the society. All social and political institutions are meant to serve the citizens who bear in their hearts the tradition of love, unity, and patriotism. We must shape the new model citizens as free and responsible men and women to fit the new, free society. I believe you have all that our forefathers wanted you to have. I know that you are living a happy, abundant life, enjoying all the liberties and human rights provided by a true democratic way of life. You have obtained the most advanced sciences and technologies known to the human species. The Vietnamese people want to experience these same liberties and are looking to you as their liberators. You have to revive the survival strength of our country in order to break the chain of the communism, and bring to the people, freedom, prosperity, and happiness.

Please, go forward bravely and take the responsibility to be a liberator of our country. You will succeed.

Thank you.

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