Some facts for Mr. Parker . . .
[Editor’s note: This is in response to Timothy Parker’s letter of Jan. 15.]
Thank you, Mr. Parker, for your commentary on my article, “Ms. Willis’ socialism column nonfactual.” However, you are mistaken when you qualify my article as “nonfactual” on a couple of fronts.
1. The most glaring mistake you make is failing to recognize that my account is from the perspective of someone who was actually there in Vietnam during the post-Vietnam War period.
Any historian will tell you that first-hand accounts are the most valued sources of research when seeking to understand an event.
Additionally, I clearly qualify that this article is from my friend’s perspective. Additionally, I conducted two interviews with him and had him review the article twice for inaccuracies or needed clarifications.
2. The second glaring mistake you make is that you seem to conflate the period during which I am recounting, the post-Vietnam War, with the actual Vietnam War itself.
You are accurate when you describe the Vietnam War being between North and South Vietnam. However, again I remind you that I qualified within the article that this account was the post-war period (i.e., after 1973).
During this period Vietnam did experience a rise in a political party which was a combination of both North Vietnamese Communist party (i.e., Lao Dong) and South Vietnamese socialist/communist party (i.e., People’s Revolutionary Party of South Vietnam).
Together, they formed the Communist Party of Vietnam. This party did rise to power and established what can be described as a socialist/communist republic. The historical facts of this period can be easily researched.
Finally, I just want you to know that I honestly did find your critique helpful. I refrained from going into the political history of Vietnam because many people are not familiar with it, and I thought it detracted from what I found most compelling about my friend’s story, which was his reaction to the socialist rhetoric he was detecting in American politics today.
However, I recognize that there are those who may find what I write objectionable, and maybe interjecting points of global history may make them more receptive to my points of discussion. If this is true in your case, then I trust you find this response helpful.
Bonnie B. Willis