by Jean-Jacques COURTEY, Doctor in Economic Geography, Ph. D
translated and adaptated in English by himself
Here is an English translation and adaptation of our article published in French, on Global Politics and Economics on May 20th, 2010, and untitled "L'émergence du Vietnam : de la revanche du jardinier du Havre à celle de la très jolie Marjolaine".
Located in the center of Asia, and sharing a common border with China, Kampuchea and Laos, Vietnam has got the geographic shape of a capital s.
You can distinguish from North to South, Tonkin with the delta of Song, Annam in the center, and Cochinchina with the delta of Mekong.
Its area is 326 797 sq. km and it is populated of around 82 million inhabitants.
If its most famous cities are Hô-Chi-Minh-Ville (Saïgon) and Hanoï, the previous capital of Huê is still benefitting of the nostalgic prestige from the glorious time of its old empire. The fantastic Halong bay about it, is a magic place. Hence, it is one of the preferred destination for tourists, who participate now on to the economic boom of this new emerging country.
However, Vietnam had to recover from two terrible wars of liberation, after having known the Japanese occupation from 1940 to 1945, which had scared off most of the great French colonists.
The first one started one year after its independence, proclaimed by Hô-Chi-Minh in 1945. He was its first president, and had to fight France which tried to take it back after a military landing (armed by the British) in 1946.
That's the famous war of Indochina which ended in 1954 with the victory of communist forces, just after the war of both Koreas (1950 - 1953) and their very long truce until today.
And the second Vietnamese war started in 1959 between the North (Hanoï) and the South (Saïgon), and America supported in a war-screen President Diêm of South Vietnam from 1962 to 1963. It has to be noticed President Diêm (1901 - 1963) was assassinated on November 2nd, 1963, twenty days before John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 - 1963) who wanted to withdraw from Vietnam.
Then, there was the frontal military intervention of the USA against North Vietnam in 1964. This horrible war ended with the fall of Saïgon in 1975, and a new victory of communist forces.
The emergence of Vietnam finds its source in the will of revenge of a man, who had been for a while garderner in the town of Le Havre during his stay in France, Hô-Chi-Minh. The latter participated in 1920 to the foundation of the French Communist Party during the congress of Tours.
We are never taught in France that the initial nationalism of Hô-Chi-Minh, by his real name Nguyên Sinh-Cung (1890 - 1969) - after having also been "Nguyen Aï-Quoc" for the soviet Komintern -, found its origin in his father's history.
He had indeed lived as a grave injustice, calling one day repair, the fact this one sank into depression after having been discharged of his mandarin role over the Protectorate of Annam, by the colonialist France of the IIIrd Republic.
Beside the right of peoples to self-determination, highlighted in his nationalist and then communist aspirations, it is rarely spoken out about the uneven treatment the Indochinese people was victim : they were denied the human and equal rights strongly proclaimed besides.
And it is allowed to wander humanely, if it's not the constancy of a clammy and stupidely condescending smirk, as much as the physical threat of the "small box", mixed with a persistent feeling of unfairness, that determined finally the loss of Indochina by France ?
This haughty and crushing attitude will have peaked in the end in the hallucinating blindness which lead to the "strategic mistake" of Diên-Bien-Phu basin, after a unilateral break of truce to try to force an outcome (end of 1953). In any case, history retained that it lead to the disastrous capitulation and final surrender of May 7th, 1954, to general Giap (born in 1911), after a battle of 169 days. During the last 57 final days, this enclave which had put itself voluntarily (!) in the position to be besieged, had to bear the fire of multiple rocket-launchers Katioucha.
General Navarre (1898 - 1983) and his headquarter completely underestimated the ability of Vietnamese soldiers to transport in separate parts the Russian artillery by moped Peugeot, on bicycle, or on foot in the jungle up to the heights overhanging Diên-Bien-Phu camp, as well as the Vietnamese art of tunnels - which was fatal to the Americans in 1975, by the way. Just respecting the truce would have lead to a different future.
Since the end of the eighties and the economic progressive liberalization of the country, Vietnam is booming unprecedently. From 1992 to 2002, in only ten years for information purposes, its GDP doubled because of a remarkable growth rate of 7% per year.
It became from then an emerging country, by opening to the international trade, what moreover allowed a lot of American companies to establish there durably : if the USA lost the war against this country in 1975, it is completely clear they won peace, contrary to what they are reproached so often.
And they have even been able to normalize their political relations while solving the thorny problem of buying back the war prisoners' freedom, supposed not to exist before the revelations intended for the Congress of the Ted Kotcheff movie (1982) : "The first blood" - untitled "Rambo" in France ! It was beautifully acted by Sylvester Stallone, but its real object wasn't always perceived in France to this day, as it seems.
Actually, an important American-Vietnamese agreement has been over suddenly concluded, allowing the Vietnamese exports to explode of 1000% in 2001 ! And 20% of Vietnam's exports are intended now on for the USA.
More recently, in 2005, Vietnam integrated the ASEAN (Association of SouthEast Asian Nations). And in 2007, it entered the WTO (World Trade Organization).
In 2008, while Vietnam gave itself ten years to step from the stage of an agricultural country to the one of an industrial nation, its GDP reached around 51 billion Euros.
As well, France didn't want to be outdone and confirmed in 2009 its intention to retie the links, as it was the case in 2004, to develop its foreign trade with this country full of promises. But, at the moment the weight of the USA, Japan, Australia, China and Singapore is overemphasized.
It is necessary to tell to the discharge of our country, that the Vietnamese question always had internal consequences as strong as unexpected on its history, which explains its perceptible hesitation.
As a matter of fact, it is the arrest in the Faculty of Nanterre of a student from the "Committee Vietnam National" during a demonstration against the Vietnam war (March 22nd, 1968), which was the very starting point of what was going to become "May 68" ! This aborted revolution, of almost one month, was going to modify in depth the French society by provoking important social or educational steps notably, and by being a prelude to a deep political change : there is a "before" and an "after" May 68" !
On a quite different register, we have in France an eminent representative of this new Vietnam, with a smiling face, which embodies prosperity : the very pretty Marjolaine from "Greg the millionaire" (2003) , and from "Marjolaine and the millionaires" (2004) - where she got even on the previous TV program.
The presence of this young woman, dignous of Aphrodite and the noble Goddess Kwan Yin, are always a refreshing show. Through her attitudes, exquisite and smart, she incredibly exaltates, without being aware of, the beauty of the eternal femininity and a pleasant romanticism somehow sentimental.
It was visible she was surrounded by envious and dubious persons. The virtue and the disinterest for material things advanced by her protagonists of the reality-show, were not so obvious, in spite of the muddle of their sententious or wrongly moralizing objurgations, or again of their emotional and nervous breakdowns.
Equally, their will to devote themselves during their whole life to the loved one - preferably without bursting his eardrums -, was hardly perceptible. Also their fake sensuality, allegdly seductive at the image of a 4-star fridge, was overplayed and sounded terribly hollow.
And at last, after she was finally eliminated by a screaming candidate in the first program, she got even in the second one, with the power to choose her suitor this time.
But the boys were of bad faith, in their deceitful claim for the sincerity they were demanding from her in return !
And the artificial envelope of their hollow words, their personality or even their physical appearance of "standard womanizers", had something funny and pathetic, even it was not really the purpose of the program.
It is a good thing it was only a game, and that she didn't marry the "suitor", who stayed just for gaining 50,000 euros.
God, who might be her greatest fan, felt so good about that. May be, he even helped her, him who like to intervene in humans' destiny !
In any case, this allowed her to enter the closed world of television, and try a entertainment program of her own, with her so refreshing personality.