Tôn Thất Thiện

Vietnamese dissident

Dr. Tôn Thất Thiện was a South Vietnamese nationalist of the post-World War II generation who had the rare distinction of serving and watching at close quarters the two historic leaders of post-World War II Vietnam: presidents Ho Chi Minh in the Viet Minh coalition in 1945–46, and Ngô Đình Diệm 1954–55/1956–59/1963. He played a significant though understated role in the nationalist attempt to preserve a non-communist Vietnam.

QuotesEdit

"Today, freedom, like prosperity and happiness, is indivisible." http://www.rmaf.org.ph/Awardees/Citation/CitationThienTon.htm

"There could be no real freedom for people unless they were given the opportunity of acquiring knowledge through education and free access to information." Quoted in Maslog, Crispin C. "Ton That Thien: Asian Libertarian", p. 78

"My problem is how to enlarge press freedom in Vietnam – and freedom in general." Quoted in Maslog, Crispin C. "Ton That Thien: Asian Libertarian", p. 77

"A clean and honest government has nothing to fear [of a free press]." http://www.rmaf.org.ph/Awardees/Biography/BiographyThienTon.htm

"Why have 25,000 Allies and more than 100,000 Vietnamese died in this war, if not for freedom?" http://www.rmaf.org.ph/Awardees/Biography/BiographyThienTon.htm

"In August 1945 and thereafter, the CPV was in control of a government of Vietnam. What remained for it to do was to transform this government into the government of Vietnam." The Foreign Politics of The Communist Party of Vietnam: A Study of Communist Tactics, p. 68

". . . since 1945 CPV leaders have constantly talked about peace, but since 1945, of all the nations of the world, Vietnam under their rule has been constantly at war." The Foreign Politics of The Communist Party of Vietnam: A Study of Communist Tactics, p. 60

"[Vietnamese continue] to be horrified and embittered at the way the Americans fight their war. . . . Our peasants will remember their cratered rice fields and defoliated forests, devastated by an alien air force that seems at war with the very land of Vietnam." Quoted in Gerald C. Hickey, Window on a War, p. 258

"The more foreign control over the Saigon government is heavy, visible, and real, the stronger the pressure on the Vietnamese in search of dignity to cross the line and go over to the other side . . . . Unless one offers enough to the nationalists to keep them away from Communism – and enough here means liberation from the feeling of loss of dignity – Communism is going to triumph in Vietnam." Quoted in Maslog, Crispin C. "Ton That Thien: Asian Libertarian", p. 76

"Do the Americans have an overall plan for Vietnam that we, the Vietnamese, somehow fail to understand, or is there no plan at all?" Quoted in Gerald C. Hickey, Window on a War, p. 210

"Just because the Americans want to quit the war is no reason to assume that the Vietnamese do too." Quoted in Gerald C. Hickey, Window on a War, p. 259

"The dilemma of two Vietnams is the cruel fate which has befallen the Vietnamese people – a victim of the mistakes of the statesmen of the great powers, as well as the follies of their own leaders." Quoted in Maslog, Crispin C. "Ton That Thien: Asian Libertarian", p. 72

"Was it necessary for the Vietnamese people to resort to war to achieve national independence and improve their living conditions? To give a firm answer, again one would have to look at Vietnam's Southeast Asian neighbors. All these countries achieved national independence and improved their living conditions without war. Indeed, they were able to do so sooner and faster than Vietnam precisely because they had achieved independence with rather than against the colonial nations, and had not followed the Communist road." The Foreign Politics of The Communist Party of Vietnam: A Study of Communist Tactics, p. 201-205