[Buddha-l] Western reporter's memoir about General VoNguyen Giap--article & photos

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Sun Oct 20 12:35:09 MDT 2013

> Dan, Vietnam is distinctly unlike North Korea. I refer to the public
> performances that were choreographed for the world's cameras when Kim Jong
> Il died.

First, I agree that Vietnam is unlike N. Korea, just as it is unlike us.

Second, that many/most N. Koreans have been successfully brainwashed to 
revere their divine leaders to the nth degree is the case. So the 
choreographed ceremonies and mourning in N. Korea where legitimate 
expressions of deep emotional feelings. (Koreans in the N. and S. are easily 
the most emotional group in E. Asia -- the most popular entertainment there 
consists of long "variety" shows running for hours, the mainstay of which 
are singers singing sad to melancholy songs, and the audience -- made up of 
children through grandmothers -- all crying along. That's what counts as a 
"good time" in Korea.)

Third, what I was referring to is the disparity between the way ex-pat 
Vietnamese Buddhists, esp. clergy, view their in-country brethren, not 
exactly that the in-country Buddhists are all hypocritical, though some 
social coersion -- at least in the form of expectations -- is at play. There 
is complicity between the govt and Buddhist leadership, which thus instills 
and inculcates respect for national heroes, including military ones. In that 
sense, like N. Koreans, they have bought into the cultural myths, and little 
room for dissent or opposing opnions is allowed in public -- worse in N. 
Korea, but worse in Vietnam than here.

Buddhist support for nationalistic militarism in Asia (and in Europe during 
the 20th c., with support for fascism and neonazism -- e.g., G. Tucci, 
Julius Evola, Chr. Lindtner, etc. -- to get started, google "evola buddhism" 
and hold your breath) is a topic whose time has come.


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