Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOCMF)
By Jackie Bong-Wright
Fund-Raising Gala Dinner
On the day after Christmas, “Boxing Day” in England, 500 Vietnamese Americans gathered at the Lucky Three restaurant in Falls Church and remembered the one million of their compatriots who had been killed at the hands of the Vietnamese Communists. Within two hours, on the appeal of Uyen Dinh, a young activist, the attendees contributed $27,000 to help build a Victims of Communism Memorial. “Any money raised will be matched dollar for dollar by the Victims Of Communism Memorial Foundation,” said Dinh Hung Cuong, one of the organizers of the event.
Vietnamese and American college students, each holding a white mourning cloth and a lighted candle, walked onto the stage and surrounded a white statue of the Goddess of Democracy. They sang the American and Vietnamese anthems, and finished with a minute of silence to commemorate the Communists’ victims, who had sacrificed their lives in the struggle of democracy and freedom all over the world.
State Senator Leslie Byrne of Virginia, who had introduced the “Vietnam Human Rights Day” bill that was passed by Congress in May 1994, echoed that she would continue to support the fight for freedom and democracy in Vietnam.
Memorial and Museum
The principal speaker, who was introduced by emcee Bui Duong Liem, was Jay Katzen, President of the Victims Of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOCMF). “With the bipartisan support of Congress and approval of the President, the Victims of Communism Memorial and Museum will commemorate the more than 100 million victims of Communism and will honor those who challenged Communist regimes,” said Katzen. The intent, he continued, was to locate the memorial at First and Louisiana streets, near Union Station in Washington. The memorial is to be completed in the fall of 2004.
“We will erect a 9-foot bronze statue of the Goddess of Democracy, a replica of the statue created by student activists, which was destroyed by Communist tanks in Tianamen Square in 1989,” Katzen explained. “The monument’s eternal flame will burn for your family and friends and for the liberty denied them. We will not allow those whom we lost to be forgotten. We will build a memorial for those who cannot be with us tonight so that future generations will know of them, as well as the tyranny and terror of Communism.”
As for the museum, it would be located on a website and would educate the American public and the world about the Cold War and document Communism’s continuing crimes against humanity. The online museum will include a Roll Call of Victims (the names, photos, and personal testimonies); a Hall of Heroes honoring anti-Communist champions such as Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman, Pope John Paul II, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov, Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel; a Hall of Infamy representing Communism’s inhumanity to man; and guided tours of similar museums around the world.
The Battle Continues: Testimonies
Writer and journalist Son Tung told the audience that he had been haunted for years by the tragic death of six members of his family, brutally murdered by the Vietnamese Communists. “They were among the one million who perished under the Communists in Vietnam. To cover up their own crimes, the Communists set up an exhibition hall in Saigon to show crimes committed by the Americans. Ironically, some liberal media in the West gave this Communist tyranny a helping hand by spreading their propaganda, ignoring their horrible crimes and even treating them as liberators. But the truth cannot be covered up forever. It is our obligation to make the world remember those who were slaughtered, to expose the Communists’ crimes, and to bring to light the just cause of freedom. I believe that before long, we will be able to go back to a free Vietnam and build a monument to commemorate the victims of Communism in Hanoi.”
Nguyen Cao Quyen, a former judge in Vietnam, jailed for eleven years after the unification of Vietnam under the Communists in 1975, told the audience, “In civilized societies, the basic principle that killing is wrong has been accepted universally. But the 20th century recorded enormous massacres by the Communists – 20 million in the Soviet Union, 60 million in China, 2 million in North Korea, 2 million in Cambodia, 1 million in South Vietnam, and many more in other countries as well.”
“Since 1945, the Vietnamese Communists exterminated religious leaders, assassinated opposition leaders, killed intellectuals, businessmen, and even peasants who disagreed with their ideology. These terrorist acts were crimes against humanity and the genocide of entire classes. We are longing for the day when these criminals will be convicted in an international court. In the meantime, this memorial will be the most concrete proof of their vicious acts, which will be exposed for the public and the world to contemplate.”
The website of the VOCMF (victimsofcommunism.org), defends its mission. Responding to those who question the relevance of fixing our attention on victims of Communism when the first priority is the war on terrorism, the website cites Michael Waller who has studied Soviet archives, and spoken to defectors and intelligence agents. He writes that “the networks of those very murderers whom we are fighting today were built by the USSR and its proxies from the 1960s through the 1980s.” Waller notes that of the seven governments categorized by the State Department last year as state sponsors of terrorism, five (Cuba, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Syria) were ruled by individuals or groups that were originally installed or propped up by the Soviet Union. Edmund Burke, too is quoted “ All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”