Uncle Ho's legacy lives on in Vietnam

Posted: June 7, 2012 at 11:17 am

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6 June 2012 Last updated at 19:32 ET By Viv Marsh BBC News

On an overcast morning in Hanoi, the queue stretches several hundred metres. Women dressed in traditional ao dai; schoolchildren in uniform jostling one another; grim-faced old men standing in silence; a few self-conscious Western tourists.

They are all waiting to see Vietnam's figurehead and Communist revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh - even though he has been dead for 43 years.

For the visitor, the enduring image of Ho Chi Minh may be the one he never wanted - the long shuffle through security checks around his mausoleum, culminating in a few seconds' hushed walk past his embalmed body. He himself wished to be cremated.

What would have been the late president's 122nd birthday this year, on 19 May, was marked by an exhibition of Ho Chi Minh documents in the province of Thai Nguyen and the launch of a translated biography, endorsed by the ruling Communist Party, entitled Ho Chi Minh - an Immortal Saint.

The 16-chapter book chronicling the late president's life and career was written by Thai social activist Suprida Phanomjong, the son of a former Thai prime minister, who is said to have had close connections to Ho Chi Minh.

State website VietNam News said the author had been "touched to see how the Vietnamese people worshipped the president".

The book's Vietnamese-language launch - six years after it first appeared in Thai - was attended by a leading Vietnamese propaganda official, Nguyen An Tiem.

The state-backed Voice of Vietnam website said the publication was "expected to help raise public awareness of Ho Chi Minh Thought and his moral examples", thus contributing towards "studying and following Ho Chi Minh's Moral Example campaign".

"The fact that he lived a fairly abstemious life and that he was devoted to the cause of his country, all those things are meant to be virtues that all Communists share," says Sophie Quinn-Judge, a scholar and biographer of Ho Chi Minh.

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Uncle Ho's legacy lives on in Vietnam

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June 7th, 2012 at 11:17 am

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