Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Immigration by Another Means

Thirty years ago the boat people started arriving in Australia. This was an immense exodus of South Vietnamese, those who were "unsuited" to the communist regime. Desperate people, grasping at shreds of hope, left Vietnam with nothing. They spent their last wealth on bribes to get out. The suffering they sailed into is legendary.

The communists did not realize it at the time, but they were losing precious resources by the boatful. These refugees dispersed all over the world, but many came to America -- Vietnam's loss, our gain. At one time Saigon was the "Pearl of the Orient", a city with life and great potential. Saigon and Vietnam languished pathetically after the war, economically stagnant until the 90's. After the government renounced communism, life began to get better for the people. Why couldn't they have done that to begin with? The economy recovers, but Freedom remains elusive.

I have mixed feelings about the war, but I think the bad ending was unnecessary. Is Vietnam better off today than it would have been if we had done a better job? We lost a lot in the war, and so did they. The way things went after the war was also bad. In particular, a lot of the boat people suffered, and a lot died. It may have been worse for the ones who stayed behind.

4/26/2006 3:10 PM

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