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San Francisco Sympathizers

San Francisco Sympathizers

Hanoi, Vietnam

We had an opportunity to ask the Director questions. Typical to Wellesley style, there were many, many interesting questions and the Director, with the help of an interpreter, did her best to answer them. I was curious about the portion of the exhibit dedicated to people who were anti-war during the American/Vietnam War. There were posters, letters, dolls, and not surprisingly pictures of famous people include Jane Fonda. I asked the following question, “I notice that in your museum you have highlighted the support and words of encouragement Vietnam received from women in other countries during the American War. Do you now, send similar words of encouragement to women in war torn countries?” There was a rapid and somewhat lengthy conversation between the Director, her interpreter, and Mr. Cong. The Director stated that Vietnam assists countries that need developmental assistance.

The next day when I had a chance to speak with Mr. Cong in private, I asked him about her response. He confirmed that she had in fact chosen not to answer my question directly. He mentioned that in her position she is probably a member of the Communist Party and that she must be careful about what she says in public. Despite the incredible market economy, Vietnam is not a democratic society.