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Hanoi Chomsky By: Tim Starr
No Treason | Tuesday, February 11, 2003


"Yesterday and today, my friends and I visited Tanh Hoa province. There we were able to see at first hand the constructive work of the social revolution of the Vietnamese people. We saw luxurious fields and lovely countryside. We saw brave men and women who know how to defend their country from brutal aggression, but also to work with pride and with dignity to build a society of material prosperity, social justice, and cultural progress. I would like to express the great joy that we feel in your accomplishments.

"We also saw the ruins of dwellings and hospitals, villages mutilated by savage bombardments, craters disfiguring the peaceful countryside. In the midst of the creative achievements of the Vietnamese people, we came face to face with the savagery of a technological monster controlled by a social class, the rulers of the American empire, that has no place in the 20th century, that has only the capacity to repress and murder and destroy.

"We also saw the (Ham Ranh) Bridge, standing proud and defiant, and carved on the bills above we read the words, 'determined to win.' The people of Vietnam will win, they must win, because your cause is the cause of humanity as it moves forward toward liberty and justice, toward the socialist society in which free, creative men control their own destiny.

"This is my first visit to Vietnam. Nevertheless, since the moment when we arrived at the airport at Hanoi, I've had a remarkable and very satisfying feeling of being entirely at home. It is as if we are renewing old friendships rather than meeting new friends. It is as if we are returning to places that have a deep and personal meaning.

"In part, this is because of the warmth and the kindness with which we have been received, wherever we have gone. In part, it is because for many years we have wished all our strength and will to stand beside you in your struggle. We are deeply grateful to you that you permit us to be part of your brave and historical struggle. We hope that there will continue to be strong bonds of comradeship between the people of Vietnam and the many Americans who wish you success and who detest with all of their being the hateful activities of the American government.

"Those bonds of friendship are woven of many strands. From our point of view there is first of all the deep sympathy that we felt for the suffering of the Vietnamese people, which persists and increases in the southern part of your country, where the American aggression continues in full force.

"There is, furthermore, a feeling of regret and shame that we must feel because we have not been able to stop the American war machine. More important still is our admiration for the people of Vietnam who have been able to defend themselves against the ferocious attack, and at the same time take great strides forward toward the socialist society.

"But, above all, I think, is the feeling of pride. Your heroism reveals the capabilities of the human spirit and human will. Decent people throughout the world see in your struggle a model for themselves. They are in your debt, everlastingly, because you were in the forefront of the struggle to create a world in which the chains of oppression have been broken and replaced by social bonds among free men working in true solidarity and cooperation.

"Your courage and your achievements teach us that we too must be determined to win--not only to win the battle against American aggression in Southeast Asia, but also the battle against exploitation and racism in our own country.

"I believe that in the United States there will be some day a social revolution that will be of great significance to us and to all of mankind, and if this hope is to be proven correct, it will be in large part because the people of Vietnam have shown us the way.

"While in Hanoi I have had the opportunity to read the recent and very important book by Le Duan on the problems and tasks of the Vietnamese revolution. In it, he says that the fundamental interests of the proletariat of the people of all the world consists in at the same time in safeguarding world peace and moving the revolution forward in all countries. This is our common goal. We only hope that we can build upon your historic achievements. Thank you."

- Noam Chomsky, originally delivered on April 13, 1970 in Hanoi while he was visiting North Vietnam with a group of anti-war activists. Broadcast by Radio Hanoi on April 14, and published in the _Asia-Pacific Daily Report_ of the U.S. government's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, April 16, 1970, pages K2-K3.


I first came across a quote from this speech in the book "DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION: Second Thoughts About the Sixties", by Peter Collier & David Horowitz. I had read the book several years before, & was reminded of it during a debate I was having with some Chomsky fans (on the Usenet newsgroups alt.politics.libertarian, alt.fan.noam-chomsky, etc.) about Chomsky's cover-up of the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Re-reading "DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION" reminded me that he'd also made a speech cheering for the Viet Cong from Hanoi during the Vietnam War. This was additional evidence of Chomsky's Commie sympathies, so I quoted the bit from his speech which had made it into "DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION" in my Usenet debate.

One of my opponents, a Chomsky defender & self-described "anarchist" of the anti-capitalist variety, Dan Clore, immediately denied that Chomsky had ever made any such speech, & called David Horowitz a "notorious liar". He also accused Horowitz of using a fabricated quote from the socialist historian Ronald Radosh about Chomsky's alleged policy of keeping quiet about the negative aspects of North Vietnam that Chomsky had seen on his tour of the country. Unfortunately, Collier & Horowitz didn't indicate what their source for Chomsky's Hanoi speech was, so I kept looking. I found the primary source in the book "POLITICAL PILGRIMS: Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society", by Paul Hollander. Then, with the irreplaceable help of Stephen Denney, an archivist with the UC Berkeley Indochina Center, I was able to obtain a transcript of the entire speech, which I have provided above.




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