Washington, D.C. - Vietnam's highest-ranking dissident, Lt. General Tran Do, now reveals he has been transformed from an idealistic youth fired by revolutionary zeal to a disillusioned old man, shocked by what he sees as a government worse than its former colonial state. These revelations are contained in the second installment of Looking Back, a memoir, obtained by Radio Free Asia (RFA). Earlier this year, General Tran Do incurred the ire of the Vietnamese government by calling on it to "implement democracy now or collapse." Lt. General Tran Do is the former ideological chief of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). Following are some excerpts from the new document: "I had participated in demolishing a state, an administrative machine run by the colonialists and their feudalistic henchmen. That system had all the characteristics of a cruel, savage system, in which exploitation was the rule and profligacy the norm, a system built on cheating, lies, and underhanded tricks���锟� Our present life, it seems, is less and less like what we dreamt of building���锟�, and more and more like what we had spent time overthrowing." "What was it that I had participated in building? "First, now we have a state machinery���锟� that is much more imposing and much more expensive, much bigger than the ancient administrative machine [before 1945]���锟� Our state thus reflects an extremely cumbersome political system centered around the Party... "Second, we have a huge public security machine���锟� equipped with more modern and variegated instruments of terrorism than the security forces of older regimes (under feudalism and colonialism) could ever dream of���锟� [In other words] all the things that we held in contempt, cursed out and opposed, we now repeat them but at a more perfect level, a level which is made more and more sophisticated. "Marx's epistemology is based on dialectics yet the ideological leaders of the ruling machine are much too simplistic and sclerotic, they look at the world situation and the national situation in the same colors as 50 years ago or even worse���锟� [This ends up] being inconsistent, paradoxical, full of sophistry, imposing one's viewpoint at all costs, even at the cost of lies and blatant impudence." "Do we have a way out?" the document asks. "I believe we do," Tran Do wrote. According to him, by far the best-known dissident in Vietnam at the present time, "one, it is not to depend on any ideology or dogma���锟� Two, one must have widespread discussion with and among the people, no one can think on behalf of the entire nation. Three, the rulers must be truly of the people, by the people and for the people [meaning, through real elections]." "In our country," the document concludes, "people used to speak about 'the people being at peace.' This cannot mean only security for the powers that be." Radio Free Asia is a private corporation that was established in 1996 to provide news and information to listeners in China, Tibet, Vietnam, Burma, North Korea, Laos and Cambodia. It is funded by grants from Congress. RFA's mission is to be a forum for a variety of opinions and voices from within Asian nations whose people do not have full freedom of expression. Listener confidence in the quality and credibility of its broadcasts is RFA's highest priority. RFA is a journalistically independent organization whose autonomy is key to providing objective domestic news and information.


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