Last month, Vietnam celebrated the 130th birthday of Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969), the great national hero of Vietnam. This is the right time for us to review the role of Ho Chi Minh in shaping the development of Vietnam and the influence of Ho Chi Minh’s ideology in the contemporary world.
A Vietnamese patriot
Ho Chi Minh, together with his left-wing fellows in the French Social Party, founded the French Communist Party in 1920. He is also the founder and trainer of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the founder of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the national leader of Vietnam in 24 years (1945-1969). He is the founder of the People’s Army of Vietnam, the founder of the national united forefront, and a pioneer in the revolution.
Ho Chi Minh had a great vision and the extreme desire for comprehensive independence for Vietnam, and freedom, and happiness for the Vietnamese people. He wrote in his letter to the next generations (the Communist Party of Vietnam considers the letter as the Will) that his ultimate desire was all Party and People to unite to build a Vietnam for peace, reunion, democracy and wealth, and contribute meaningfully to the revolution of the world. Ho Chi Minh devoted all of his life to the fight for national, social, and human liberation, not only for his nation but also for the hardworking humankind.
The life of Ho Chi Minh was full of difficulties and hardships. His mother passed away when he was 10 years old. He travelled overseas to learn from the world when he had no single penny in his pocket. For livelihood and activism, he earned by working extremely hard. He was kept in jail twice, one absent death penalty, and lived in shortage. But Ho Chi Minh is a typical model for the good values that every good human wants to achieve. The life of Ho Chi Minh becomes a textbook of morality for many Vietnamese patriots. Ho Chi Minh’s morality has power to mobilise good people moving forward to the values of the true, the good, and the beauty.
Ho Chi Minh was a pioneer of decolonization in the 20th century. He was a representative for Vietnam and for the class of hardworking humankind to attack capitalism to gain independence and freedom for the nation. Capitalism is the biggest target of his attack. He denounced capitalism in all forums, by all tools and weapons he had. Ho Chi Minh was a passionate soldier in the movements of international communists, international workers, and in the movement for national liberation.
Ho Chi Minh studied the core of colonialism and the practice of revolutionism. He was flexible in his tactics of activism, which ranged from hardness to softness, and took advantage of all chances to practice his ideology. His political determination was at its peak when he himself and his nation were in severe situations. He passed away at 9.47 am on September 2nd, 1969. The world paid tribute to his life and legacy for the Vietnamese revolution and the advancement of human beings.
The issue of human liberation was the utmost goal of Ho Chi Minh. All his activities were to work towards this goal. Ho Chi Minh raised the issue of peace for Vietnam and the world. It’s the true peace, sustainable peace, basing on which the basic rights were assured, which included independence, sovereignty, united and territorial integrity. Ho Chi Minh considered peace as a principle of behaviour at the individual and national levels. However, it must be an appropriate approach to peace. The peace he wanted was neither peace at any price nor the status quo peace of slavery. Ho Chi Minh said in the Independence Declaration of Vietnam: “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”. It is the peace obtained in an appropriate approach, by the cooperation and friendship of many nations in the world, regardless of big or small nations. Ho Chi Minh lived his life to bring nations together in friendship and development.
Ho Chi Minh also raised the issue of environmental protection and ecology preservation. This ideology becomes increasingly relevant in the modern and insecure world, where science and technology can both help to develop the world and destroy the natural balance. From late 1959, Ho Chi Minh launched the Tet for Trees (Planting trees on the occasion of Lunar New Year). And the more we read his Will, the more we associate his ideology to the issue of environment and ecology, which is now turning into a global issue.
Ho Chi Minh embedded his life in the most significant milestone of Vietnam and the historic events of the world. He made positive and important impacts on the development of Vietnam and mankind’s civilization, not only of his time but also of future generations. Ho Chi Minh has been a part of contemporary Vietnam, and his ideology has been undetachable in the evolution of mankind’s civilization from the 20th century.
Each person could have his own reflection of Ho Chi Minh ideology. The ideology is vivid along with the life of each person. It accompanies us in our modern life, while it is adapted and adopted, and refreshes itself with the new energy from living reality. Many people of this modern life subjectively or objectively mention and practice Ho Chi Minh ideology.
**The author is a Professor, Doctor of History at Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, Vietnam.**