TIGERS AND TREASON
Perhaps the most extraordinary summer of my life was when I was 17 years old. It was 1960, and I spent it in the jungles of South Vietnam hunting tigers. I was by myself with a Vietnamese hunting guide named Ngo Van Chi, and I was after one tiger in particular. He was a man-eater. He had killed and eaten so many people – over 20 – that he had a name: Ong Bang Mui, “Mr. Thirty,” the number associated with death.
This was in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam, inhabited by tribespeople collectively known as Montagnards (mon-tan-yards), French for mountain people. They are Malayo-Polynesian, not Mongoloid Oriental, who first populated these mountains thousands of years ago – long before the Vietnamese came, whether the Tonkinese in the north or the Annamese in the south.
The Montagnard people I was with were known as the Co Ho. They had no modern weapons, only spears and cross bows. So when Ong Bang Mui leaped into one of their villages and dragged off a villager to be eaten, they had little defense. They had little defense also from the Communist Viet Cong. The sight of a village in smoking ruins and dead babies stuck onto sharpened poles is a sight one never forgets.
The Co Ho and other Montagnard tribes were such peaceful, gentle people. It was impossible for anyone who got to know them, such as I and so many American soldiers, not to develop a deep and abiding fondness for them. They welcomed me into their huts, most always built on stilts, and were always gracious and kind – although I must admit they loved getting me way too drunk on their rice wine.
In the 29 years since the North Vietnamese conquered South Viet Nam, the Montagnards have been defenseless against the genocide perpetrated upon them by the Communist regime in Hanoi. The Montagnards fought as best they could against the Viet Cong and NVA (North Vietnamese Army), and the Hanoi Communists have been exacting revenge ever since. There were over 3 million Montagnards three decades ago, and now there are less than 700,000 – a Communist genocide of well over two million of the most benign human beings on our planet.
In September 2001, the House of Representatives passed the Vietnam Human Rights Act by a vote of 410-1. The act would have greatly restricted any US aid to the Communist government of Vietnam until the Montagnard pogroms ceased and the basic human rights of the Montagnards were protected. One single Senator blocked the bill from a vote in the Senate, thus preventing it from becoming law and allowing the Hanoi regime to continue the genocide.
That Senator was John Kerry.
This summer, on July 19, 2004, the House again passed the Vietnam Human Rights Act, by a vote of 325-45. And again, Kerry of Massachusetts is blocking its passage in the Senate.
This Saturday, October 2, from 10am to 5pm, there will be a demonstration in front of John Kerry’s Washington home, organized by Vietnamese-Americans for Truth, to protest Kerry’s sabotage of the Vietnam Human Rights Act.
The address is 3322 O St. NW, Georgetown, Washington DC 20007.
Just as John Kerry betrayed his fellow soldiers by lying to Congress that they perpetrated war crimes, just as John Kerry betrayed his country by attempting to negotiate its defeat with Hanoi Communist representatives in Paris, so John Kerry betrayed the Vietnamese and Montagnard people. Treason and betrayal indelibly soil his soul.
Please consider joining me at the Kerry Sabotage demonstration this Saturday if you live anywhere near the Washington area. I hope to see you there.
And yes — I did get Ong Bang Mui.