International friends who were jailed for supporting Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge – Climbing up on the Statue of Liberty waving the Vietnamese flag, holding demonstrations in front of the White House or kidnapping an American officer in exchange for the life of Nguyen Van Troi ... many international friends was sent to jail for supporting Vietnam.

Vietnam war, Paris agreement, international friends, anti-war, Nguyen Thi Binh
Mr. Renato Darsie recalled the days of struggling to support Vietnam.

In the morning of January 26, the Union of Vietnam Friendship Organizations held the program "Paris Agreement – The Arms of Friends". This program is designed to honor international friends who supported and helped Vietnam during the war, contributed to the success of Vietnam at the negotiation for the Paris Agreement.

Crossing thousands of miles from many countries to Vietnam, the peace-loving international friends of Vietnam expressed their joy and happiness when peace has been restored in Vietnam for 40 years. From young people who actively involved in the antiwar movement, now those friends have become the elderly but their love for the country and people of Vietnam has not changed.

Mr. Renato Darsie, a member of The Communist Party of Italy - one of the leaders of the movement to support Vietnam in the war against the US, said he was very happy to come to Vietnam on the occasion of the country’s jubilant celebration of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement, restoring peace in Vietnam.

"We had to travel a long distance from Veneto (Italy) to Yugoslavia to donate blood and asked the Yugoslav friends to send to the blood to Vietnam. When U.S. ships docked in our port to load goods, we sought to prevent them. When your hospitals were bombed, we mobilized people to support ...," said Mr. Renato Darsie.

For these actions, he was accused of disturbing public order and made illegal acts for five times. But it did not make Mr. Renato Darsie tremble.

Vietnam war, Paris agreement, international friends, anti-war, Nguyen Thi Binh

"On 4/30/1975, when your country was reunified, in Italy we hugged each other and danced all night. This year, we also have a series of events to commemorate the 40-year relationship our diplomacy," said Mr. Renato Darsie.

Mr. Carlos Rey Gomez, a guerilla in Caracas (Venezuela), recalled: on 5/19/1964, when Nguyen Van Troi was arrested in Saigon and was sentenced to death, he, along with four other soldiers, decided to kidnap a U.S. military commander to change his life for Nguyen Van Troi. On October 9, his guerrilla team kidnapped American officer Michael Smolen.

"We asked the U.S. government to release Troi, they had three days to do it. But at that time the information was poor. When they announced to release Troi, in Venezuela we also released Smolen. We did not expect that they deceived and executed Nguyen Van Troi," said Mr. Carlos Rey Gomez. He said that after that the guerrilla team was very angry and launched a broad campaign against the US.

Among theinternational friends to Vietnam this time was an American woman. She is tiny but 40 years ago she made the whole world admire. Protesting the war in Vietnam, Merle Evelyn Ratner climbed up the Statue of Liberty waving the red flag with yellow star. She said that her action was to make the American people know that the war in Vietnam was wrong and a crime.

Starting to participate in the anti-war movement when she was 13 years old, Merle Evelyn Ratner attended many anti-war demonstrations. She said that this movement worked greatly, first of all, to fight for the right to fight. "We were arrested many times for these actions," she said.

But Merle Evelyn Ratner was undeterred. She said that she had learned a lot from the “long hair army” of Vietnam, especially Mrs. Nguyen Thi Binh, for the perseverance and persistence. Merle Evelyn Ratner made the participants moved when she sang the song that she and her team sang during the anti-war movement. The song was the wishes for Mrs. Binh’s good health and long life and the wish for the end of the war.

A representative for the American people who support Vietnam, Mr. Chuck Searcy expressed his moving senation when seeing Vietnam’s peace and development. More than 40 years ago, he and his friends mobilized a lot of people to participate in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. Thousands of Americans were arrested and charged with disturbing public order.

"We were worried for a long time when the Paris conference took place. We even went to Paris to see Mrs. Binh to inquire about the information about the negotiation. After the agreement was signed, we continued to struggle to make it a reality, including the provisions to provide support to heal the wounds of war," said Mr. Chuck Searcy.

Mr. Anatoly Khyupenen, the chief of the Russian military advisory delegation in Vietnam from 1972-1975, said that for the America's unjust war in Vietnam, Russia not only organized demonstrations but also did practical things to help Vietnam, such as sending food, weapons, ammunition and military experts to the country.

"I on behalf of the Russian veterans who served in Vietnam congratulate you. We are honored to be called Soviet comrades by Vietnamese friends. Personally, I still remember the day as a military advisor. Wherever we went to, kids called us “bac Lien Xo” (uncle Soviet) to show their love to us", said Mr. Anatoly Khyupenen.

Vietnam war, Paris agreement, international friends, anti-war, Nguyen Thi Binh
 Mr. Michel Strachinescu was proud to drive the Vietnamese delegation from their accommodations to the negotiation place in Paris.

Mr. Michel Strachinescu, the driver for the Vietnamese delegation in Verrières le Buisson for three years, from 1970 to 1973, said that this task was a great honor for him. The 25 km distance from home to the place of negotiations was sometimes funny, sometimes tense because the war on the diplomatic table was not easy.

Mr Michel said his car was always plugged with the red flag with yellow star of Vietnam. One day the flag fell on the road. When he stopped, it was at a distance of about 200m from the car. The highway was very crowded but he decided to run back to pick the flag to plug in the car.

"I knew that the accident might occur, but whether there was a car rolling over I would have still gone back to pick it up, because it's a small job. Vietnamese friends were fighting on another front that was extremely arduous but they could still do it well," the former driver said.

He recalled, in the days serving the Vietnamese delegation, a Vietnamese friend told him "Hey Michel, no matter how terrible America has devastated us, we will rebuild our country for 100, 200 times better” and “You have done that!," Michel said.

The chief negotiator of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam in Paris, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Binh was thrilled to hear international friends recalling the historic days. She said that those who were present in Vietnam this occasion are only the representatives of millions of people around the world who support Vietnam.

"Vietnam always appreciates the international solidarity. Without your support, we were very difficult. On behalf of the people of Vietnam, we are forever grateful to all of you, from the Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. We hope that our friendship will continue to grow, to make this life much better", former Vice President Binhsaid.

Translated by Na Son
Vietnam war, Paris agreement, international friends, anti-war, Nguyen Thi Binh