September 2, 1945
Anniversary of Vietnam’s Independence
Canada-Vietnam Friendship Society Marks Vietnam’s August 19 Revolution and National Day
A lively and informative webinar hosted by the Canada-Vietnam Friendship Society was held August 19 to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the August Revolution in Vietnam. The event was attended by participants from across Canada, the U.S. and Britain.
The online event was moderated by Sophia Leong of the York University Centre for Asian Research. The keynote presentation was given by His Excellency Pham Cao Phong, the Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Canada. Ambassador Pham highlighted the significance of the August 19th Revolution, led by President Ho Chi Minh and the Communist Party of Vietnam, in setting the stage for the nation building project expressed in today’s Vietnam. He proudly pointed out that the August 19 Revolution launched the first workers’ and peasants’ state in Asia.
Ambassador Pham noted that the patriotism, fighting spirit and determination of the Vietnamese people in defeating the French occupiers and U.S. aggressors is manifest today in Vietnam’s role in promoting peace, equality and friendly relations and development worldwide. He highlighted that in recent years Vietnam has achieved and even exceeded many of its economic and social development goals as a result of the stimulus of the Doi Moi reforms adopted by the government of Vietnam in 1986. These reforms have enabled Vietnam not only to achieve robust growth in its domestic economy, but also raised the profile of Vietnam internationally. Ambassador Pham expressed confidence that 2023, which marks the 50th anniversary of Canada-Vietnam diplomatic relations, will be an opportunity to further strengthen the positive ties between the two countries and peoples.
Speaking on behalf of the Canada-Vietnam Friendship Society, Philip Fernandez pointed out that the close fraternal relations between the Vietnamese and Canadian people were forged during the broad opposition in Canada to the U.S. war of aggression in Vietnam. He noted that hundreds of thousands of people including students and youth stood with the people of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh. Canadians fiercely resisted the government of the day’s integration of Canada into the U.S. war machine, supplying the U.S. military with napalm, explosives, planes, missiles, bullets and other equipment made in Canada to be used against the Vietnamese people. Also noted was the people’s opposition to Canadian NGOs and others agencies working in Vietnam providing intelligence to the U.S. military. In February 1967, the Vietnamese government sent a formal note of protest to Ottawa denouncing these activities.
Fernandez also noted that Canadians not only greatly appreciate the historic contributions made by Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese people to the annals of the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist struggle, but also Vietnam’s principled defence of peace and the non-use of force to settle conflicts between peoples and nations today. As well, they appreciate greatly Vietnam’s efforts to uphold the principles of equality, mutual respect, self-determination and independence. In today’s complex world where the U.S., NATO and its allies have triggered a war in Ukraine and are provoking China, Vietnam’s stand in defence of principle, rule of law and peaceful resolution of differences is a vital contribution to all nations and peoples striving for their right to be and to live in peace.
Dr. Joe Pateman from the Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, outlined the significance of the August 19 Revolution by pointing out that Ho Chi Minh and the Communist Party of Vietnam seized an historical moment to take control of their future. He highlighted that despite being ill-quipped and having small forces, the Viet Minh guerillas were able to defeat superior military forces with strategy and tactics worked out by which to mobilize the entire people, isolate and divide the enemy and consolidate political power step-by-step.
A lively question period followed the formal presentations in which Ambassador Pham was able to field a number of questions and elaborate on the points he had made earlier.
Towards the end of the event, Vietnam’s Consul General in Vancouver, Mr. Nguyen Quan Trung said a few words about the work he is doing to promote relations between Canada and Vietnam and expressed his deep appreciation for the friendship and support of the Canadian people for Vietnam and the Vietnamese people.
As part of concluding remarks, Philip Fernandez expressed congratulations and best wishes to the fraternal Vietnamese people on the historic occasion of the August 19th Revolution and the 77th anniversary of Vietnam’s National Day marked on September 2, the day President Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence at Bai Dinh Square in Hanoi.