Before I begin, let me say this: I do not wish to nullify the efforts made by Ho Chi Minh in order to free Vietnam from foreign reign and influence. He did great work and made huge strides in liberation and national freedom. There is no one person that is all bad or all good, there is always a balance of both.
That being said, my parents are Vietnam War refugees. They came on a boat to the United States as a result of being forced out of their country. All these people revere Ho Chi Minh as a great hero but do not take the time out to realise his leadership caused thousands to suffer. Under him, many opponents of communism and his style of government were imprisoned and sent to work camps. An entire nation was further divided and only united under name. My parents refuse to call Saigon “Ho Chi Minh City,” because they feel it is an affront to their past. My mother cannot bring the ashes of her mother and father to the states as the government prohibits her from doing so.
My parents do not talk of the war. They do not talk of Ho Chi Minh or the death they saw as a result of his actions. Their voices, narratives, and stories are completely nullified, ignored, and eclipsed when people celebrate Ho Chi Minh as this flawless human being that wanted no more than to unify his country. While that was Ho Chi Minh’s intent, he felt all those who opposed him were misguided, wrong, or just not Vietnamese any more. If this man was so great, why did my parents fear for their lives and flee their homeland? Now this is not to say that every story is like this and every set of Vietnamese refugees bears the same sentiments, but when I see people saying “Happy Birthday Ho Chi Minh!” but not reflecting on how his actions decimated a vast group of people, it honestly infuriates me.