Ho Chi Minh

Murderous Civilization!

First Published: Le Paria, August 1, 1922
Source: Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh Vol. 1
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House
Transcription/Markup: Roland Ferguson and Christian Liebl
Online Version: Ho Chi Minh Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2003

We have of late pointed out from this platform a series of assassinations perpetrated by our ‘civilizers’ which remain unpunished. Alas! The gloomy black list lengthens every day.

Quite recently, a fifty year old Annamese employed for 35 years in the Railways Department of Cochin-China was murdered by a white official. Here are the facts.

Le Van Tai had in his charge four other Annamese employed in preventing trains from crossing a bridge while it was opened to let navigation pass. The order was to close the bridge to navigation ten minutes before the trains were due to cross the bridge.

On April 2, at 4.30 p.m., one of these Annamese came to close the bridge and lower the signal. Just then a government launch appeared with a naval dockyard official on board returning from a hunt. The launch whistled. The native employee went to the middle of the bridge and waved a red flag as a sign to the boat that a train was going to pass and that navigation was accordingly suspended. Here is what happened: The launch came alongside a pillar of the bridge. The official Jumped out and made furiously for the Annamese employee. Prudently, the latter fled in the direction of Tai’s house. The Frenchman pursued him, throwing stones at him. When he heard the noise, Tai came out to meet the representative of civilization who addressed him thus, “You stupid brute, why don’t you raise the bridge?” In reply, Tai, who could not speak French, pointed to the red signal. This simple gesture exasperated M. Long’s collaborator who, without more ado, fell upon Tai and, after giving him a thorough drubbing, pushed him into a brazier nearby.

Horribly burnt, the Anamese crossing-keeper was carried to hospital where he died after six days of atrocious suffering. The French official was not charged.

In Marseilles, the official prosperity of Indo-China is on display; in Annam, people are dying of starvation. Here loyalism is praised, there assassination is perpetrated! What do you say to this, oh thousands of times over Majesty Khai Dinh and Excellentissimo Sarraut?

P.S. - While the life of an Annamese is not worth a cent, for a scratch on the arm, M. Inspector General Reinhardt receives 120,000 francs compensation. Equality! Beloved equality!