|Rousing speech: President Truong Tan Sang delivers his state of the nation address, citing Viet Nam's past successes as inspiration for the future. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Khang
Marking the 67th anniversary of the August Revolution (August 19) and National Day (September 2), President Truong Tan Sang reiterated the great significance of these two historical milestones. He also used the occasion to voice the determination of the entire party, the armed forces and people to join efforts to take the country forward on the road to everlasting development. Viet Nam News
now brings you the translation of his article.
National Day always brings about a special feeling in each and every Vietnamese person.
Each year, I'm able to remember my feelings on this special day, regardless of the time and the place, be it in the city or the countryside, at noon or at midnight when everything lies in deep slumber. Though the one feeling that has always overwhelmed me is the sacred and great significance of this Independence Day for the Vietnamese nation. I have always wondered what would have happened to all the people, houses, street corners, trees, villages and even the sound of a pagoda's bell ringing in the night, had there been no Independent Day on September 2, 1945.
Various leading authors inside and outside the country have written many books and speeches on the different aspects of the two national milestones (August 19 and September 2, 1945) for the Vietnamese people, as well as texts on the progress of humankind in general. Amid the current IT era we now live in, it is very easy to verify the truth of such information.
The 1945 August Revolution was a turning point in the course of our national history as President Ho Chi Minh solemnly declared to the Vietnamese people and the world at large the birth of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (DRVN) (now known as the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam – SRVN) at Ba Dinh Square on September 2. From that moment on, September 2 became a national milestone, ushering in a new era in history of the building and defence of our homeland, the Vietnamese nation.
For the very first time in Viet Nam's history, a new State, of the people, by the people and for the people, was established. From a slave nation living under the harsh domination of colonialists and feudalists, Viet Nam appeared on the world map as a free and independent nation. Our people rose up from slavery to become the masters of their own fates and their homeland. Each was now a true Vietnamese citizen – the offsprings of generations of ancestors who had stood up and fought against natural disasters and enemies and gone through many ups and downs throughout history. Many laid down their lives and shed their blood for the freedom of the nation and its people. We are well aware of the sacred value and the great historical significance of the National Independence Day. No one can negate this truth.
And no one can negate the triumph of the 1945 August Revolution and subsequent birth of the DRVN as a victory for the intelligence and indomitable spirit of the entire Vietnamese nation under the correct and creative leadership of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, led by President Ho Chi Minh. Having learned many great historical values and practical lessons over the last 67 years, the Communist Party has led the Vietnamese people to many victories, ranging from the victory at Dien Bien Phu that resounded across the world in 1954 to the Spring General Offensive in 1975 that resulted in the reunification of Viet Nam. Not to mention the achievements gained in the renewal process and in the course of national building and defending the homeland of the SRVN.
Changes for the better are noted everywhere we go in Viet Nam. A new and bustling life prevails all over the country. Items such as ragged loincloths, old grinders, pairs of clogs or old bicycles were once the treasures of many families, but are now merely stories of the past or artefacts displayed in history museums.
Having gone through thousands of years of strife, we are all proud of what we are today.
Yet, there remain things that continue to worry us.
By reading daily newspapers and talking with cadres, party members and citizens, it's clear that each of us has an anxiety or disagreement that affects his or herself due to policies or policy implementation. And sometimes this anxiety or disagreement turns into wrath. Yes, some of our polices are good in terms of politics and security, but not so good from a societal perspective, leading to disputes or even conflict. Price increases on many commodities have resulted in many consequences including an erosion of values and social morality, regardless of law and order. When a market economy develops, it inevitably breeds a degree of negativity. Everyone agrees that eliminating subsidy and egalitarianism is positive as they hinder development and motivation and maintains poverty. By switching to a market economy, we have faced, and continue to face, many difficulties and challenges. Initially, we believed that some problems were not so difficult to solve theoretically. However, in reality, these problems were much harder to solve because of the different interests held by certain groups looking to benefit from the situation, while others took the opportunity to fish in troubled waters or to "put a spoke in the wheel" and resort to other malicious acts.
To acknowledge these difficulties and challenges we must look at them through the lens of history. Following the success of the August Revolution, the Vietnamese revolutionaries faced serious threats from enemies inside and outside of the country, as well as the consequences of a feudal colonial regime. Difficulties and challenges piled up, yet the Party, the Government and the entire people rallied to resounding victories such as the national general elections to elect the National Assembly, the establishment of the Government, the issuance of the Constitution, and the building and consolidation of administrations from the central level down to the grass roots. These were favourable conditions for the Vietnamese State to overcome such difficulties and challenges and successfully defend the fruits of the August Revolution, resulting in a resounding victory against the French colonialists and a culminating victory at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The nation also faced further difficulties and challenges during the war against the American imperialists, however, Viet Nam's collective will and fighting prevailed, leading to yet another resounding victory and the world's people dubbing Viet Nam "the conscience of the time".
Following reunification in 1975, difficulties remained. Our people had to increase efforts to overcome the aftermath of the war while also staging new fights to protect our national sovereignty against hostile forces. Meanwhile, we had to find new and appropriate ways to develop the nation. Admittedly, some mistakes were made and corrective actions were adopted, such as in the areas of land reform and the objective and wishful thinking approach to the management, leadership, policies and mechanisms that pushed our national economy and society into a serious crisis in the period leading up to the 6th National Party Congress in 1986.
The renewal process initiated and led by the Party for more than two decades can be described as an incomplete carriage running at high speed that has enjoyed many successes, yet is full of challenges. The difficulties and challenges we face in the course of building a socialist state ruled by law are numerous, and include our own limitations – some of which are objective though mainly subjective. Our economic development is unsustainable and the balance of our macro economy unstable, while the quality of the growth rate, productivity, efficiency and economic competitiveness remains low. Coupled by these weaknesses is the limitation in mobilisation and effective use of available resources for development. Our economic growth tends to develop widely, though not deeply. Regarding culture and society, there remain many challenges, some of which have become hot topics. The environment is polluted. The socialist-oriented market economy is not yet completed. Limitations in the quality of human resources and infrastructure hinder our development. There remain many hidden factors that can potentially cause political and social instability and threaten our national sovereignty.
Within society and the state apparatus, positive and negative phenomena are intertwined and things that must be done are not being done in a timely or appropriate manner. What should we do to develop our country amid an increasingly tough and competitive world? If we maintain the same tempo of development as in previous years, we'll be left behind. We have to take drastic measures to renew ourselves in order to catch up with a rapidly developing world, though the measures we take must be synchronous across many fields. It is time for us to rectify our poor economic management, restructure the economy and improve growth. Of course, this will take time. However, our efforts to solve some of the problems have seen positive results, such as in the fight to curb inflation, though we must tackle this with caution or risk it becoming a much more serious illness, i.e. deflation. Imperturbability, persistence and lucidity will help us to determine appropriate measures to solve the problems at their roots. While waiting for solutions we still have to face new and acute pressures.
More recently, incidents in Tien Lang (Hai Phong City), Van Giang (Hung Yen Province) and Vu Ban (Nam Dinh Province), have required us to review our legal documents relating to land ownership.
The recent collapse and poor performance of many state-owned enterprises, due to the degradation of political ideology, morality and lifestyle choices of certain groups of cadres, party members and people in the community, requires all of us to take corrective action and hold high the Party Statute and abide by its law. It also requires us to narrow the gap between dreams and reality, and achieve set objectives so that we aren't left behind in an unstable situation. We face a limited state budget, mounting public debts, an increase in bankrupt businesses and factory inventories and crippling inflation. These are the pressures being placed on the shoulders of the Party, Government and the whole of society. As such, it's very hard to judge whether the difficulties and challenges faced during wartime were bigger and more ferocious than the ones we face today.
However, Viet Nam is a nation that always makes the impossible possible by overcoming difficulties and challenges and turning impossible objectives into achievable goals.
On the 67th anniversary of the August Revolution and National Day, it is important to remember and repeat the lessons that have helped Viet Nam overcome numerous difficulties and challenges throughout history. Firstly, we must hold high the national independent flag, which is closely associated with socialism.
Secondly, we must remember that the revolutionary cause is of the people, by the people and for the people. The people are the solid foundation for the nation's resounding historic victories, while the strength of the Party is based on the close relationship between the Party and the people.
Thirdly, we must remember the constant consolidation of the solidarity between the Party, the Vietnamese people and all people internationally. Solidarity is a precious tradition and a mighty strength of the Vietnamese revolution.
And finally, the Party must take correct leadership. This leadership played a pivotal role during every victory of the Vietnamese revolution.
If all party members, people and armed forces are well aware of the four lessons and strictly implement and adhere to them, I am certain we can overcome any difficulty or challenge, no matter how tough.
Confidence of victory in the past two wars for national salvation should be reflected in the success of the present cause of national industrialisation and modernisation, as well as in the construction and defence of our homeland.
In the last 67 years, the Party, State and people have constantly consolidated their solidarity. They have shared the same joys and woes with a firm confidence in achieving set objectives. The Party and State were born from the people. Across all spheres, be they economic, cultural or social, the Vietnamese nation and the revolution are forever intrinsically linked. Political and social stability is the foundation for development. Those are the characteristics of Viet Nam. Opposition, division and instability are shortcuts to destroying all of our achievements, pushing the country toward the edge of the abyss. If such a situation occurs, it would serve as a good opportunity for all anti-forces to rear their heads.
What must we do to maintain socio-political stability? We are now living in a socialist-oriented market economy and are trying to make best use of its positive implications while attempting to limit its negative impacts. This battle is not an easy one, especially since our country has started off at a low economic level and our per capita income ranks low among the middle-income nations. Countless other difficulties and challenges, as well as un-predicted contradictions, have also presented themselves to us. Here, I would like to emphasise that the new socio-economic tasks that lie ahead of us are more complicated and more challenging than those of the past.
Solidarity, harmonisation and unity are all good lessons and pivotal factors that helped lead our nation to victory in the past. And they will continue to act as important measures, helping us to overcome the difficulties and challenges of the present and the future. Solidarity, harmonisation and unity must all be preserved, enhanced and supplemented with new values in order to narrow the differences. All we have to do is to aim for "a prosperous people, a mighty nation, a democratic, fair and civilised society".
Life experience dictates that anyone who studies hard and works to the best of their ability should be rewarded with opportunity, a more enjoyable and better life and higher income. This is how we can encourage and create a better environment and nurture people's aspirations for a brighter future. We don't encourage the practice of egalitarianism. We accept fair competition but refuse to accept envy as it only hinders development. No country can develop with envy. At the same time, we appreciate altruism, sharing and love and the spirit of joining hands to fight poverty, disease and illiteracy. I am confident that the people who share my thoughts and want to make our country stronger will exhibit their responsibility toward our nation and adopt a positive attitude in their own position. During times of war, many cadres and party members were good at creating mass mobilisation and became role models for others to follow. Many of them even sacrificed their lives for the liberation of their homeland. In the present day, all of us know how to manifest our patriotism in a proper way. The value of these experiences has not changed and requires further flourishing. The responsibility of the Party and State is to provide good conditions for many people in society. The people are the mainstay for the consolidation and building of our State.
Viet Nam has shown the world, not only once, its ability to overcome difficulties, no matter how hard. We will continue to do so in order to achieve the nation's objectives. To do this, solidarity and unity are prerequisites for us all.
Those who swim against the tide will be eliminated!
By 2020 we aim for our country to become a modern industrialised nation with a medium development level, socio-political stability, democracy and a state ruled by law. We hope people's living conditions keep improving, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity are well maintained, and Viet Nam's position in the international arena will be elevated. These are the prerequisites for us to develop rapidly and steadily in the following periods.
To continue the example set by the 1945 August Revolution, it is imperative these objectives become reality. During the different stages of this nation's development, many people have shed their blood and laid down their lives to overcome the "stormy weather" and the "scorching sun" during natural disasters and "the bombs and shells" during wartime. It is our duty to do everything we can to preserve these values and make our nation more beautiful during peacetime. Let us exhibit our confidence and love towards our homeland with specific deeds to build our nation more prosperous and more beautiful as President Ho Chi Minh had wished for when he was alive. With genuine patriotism we can make an imperfect thing become perfect.
And though our country has not reached the state of perfection, our renewal process has achieved many great and important victories of historical significance. No one else, but we, joined hands to make these victories. They are the proof of our aspiration to serge ahead. Our homeland has never been as beautiful as it is today. Many regions are still underdeveloped, yet many big and magnificent works are appearing in various locales. We agree that the living conditions of certain portions of the population are still poor, but generally speaking, destitution is something of the past and many, many families are now financially better off. We are trying to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. Friends near and far highly appreciate what we have achieved. We are trying to advance our homeland forward with the strength of Phu Dong (Saint Giong).
Today, we must not forget that we are the generations inheriting the fruits of the great August Revolution. During these days, we respectfully remember President Ho Chi Minh – a genius leader, a great national liberation fighter and an excellent man of culture who showed us the correct revolutionary path, and enhanced the glory of our homeland and people. We are proud of our Vietnamese nation – a heroic, intelligent, friendly, humane, hard working, creative and patriotic nation. Our deep wish is for our millions to surge ahead as one and follow the Party to build an independent, free, prosperous and progressive nation. We will forever remember the millions of Vietnamese sons and daughters who gave their lives for their homeland's independence and freedom. We are deeply in debt of the revolutionary veterans, heroic mothers, relatives of war martyrs and those who devoted and sacrificed their youth to the national construction and defence of our beloved homeland.
With deep gratitude towards our predecessors, we must do everything in our power to develop our country. We are proud of what we have achieved so far, yet we should also feel ashamed before our ancestors and dead heroes for what our weaknesses and mistakes that have hindered the progression of our nation. Feeling ashamed does not mean we should feel spiritless or surrender. Instead, we should double or triple our efforts to embrace the future with confidence. This is the tradition of our nation. We are resolved to developing our country further and forever.
The future is ours and we shall write new pages in our nation's history together. — VNS