A Vietnamese Woman Recalls Her Revolutionary Activities

Truong My Hoa, a Vietnamese woman from a "revolutionary tradition" and later a high-ranking member of the Communist Party, recalls her experiences as a young revolutionary and subsequent imprisonment by the South Vietnamese government.

I was born to a revolutionary family and inherited a revolutionary tradition. My hometown of Tien Giang was a revolutionary hotbed. My parents had taken part in the resistance war against the French for which both were arrested and imprisoned. My brothers and sisters and I were imprisoned during the American War. Altogether my family spent half a century in jail.

In 1954, my father regrouped to the North in compliance with the Geneva Accords. My mother remained in the South with the children, and like everybody else, she thought that general elections would be implemented two years later and the country, as well as all the families, would be reunited. However, the puppet government of Ngo Dinh Diem unilaterally carried out a bloody war, supported by American imperialists.

I began to participate in the revolution at age fifteen, in 1960, when the Saigon regime took its guillotine throughout the South to behead patriotic revolutionaries and even non-revolutionary common people. I realized in my heart that we had no alternative but to struggle against the Diem government and its henchmen. That was the only way we could achieve peace, independence, and unification. Because of Diem’s terror in the countryside, my mother took us to Saigon. There, right in the gorge of the puppet regime, I became a revolutionary. I participated in propaganda aimed at mobilizing high school and college students. We urged them to resist military conscription and the invasion of our country by American imperialists.

I was arrested on April 15, 1964. The Saigon Military Tribunal accused me of disrupting order and political stability. I was officially sentenced to eighteen months of confinement, but they kept prolonging the sentence and held me in prison for eleven years. I was released on March 7, 1975….

Over the years I underwent a lot of interrogation and torture…. Always they asked me if we were going to talk, or not, and they slandered our political loyalties. They tried to make us salute their flag and condemn Communism. They tried to make us say, 'Down with President Ho!' And, of course, they wanted to know about our revolutionary organizations and bases. But we would rather die than bow to their will.

Source | Christian G. Appy, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides (New York: Penguin Books, 2003), 228-231.
Interviewer | Christian G. Appy
Interviewee | Truong Ma Hoa
Rights | Used by permission of Chris Appy. For on-line information about other Penguin Group (USA) books and authors, see the Internet website at http://www.penguin.com.
Item Type | Oral History
Cite This document | “A Vietnamese Woman Recalls Her Revolutionary Activities,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed November 24, 2014, http://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/956.