Expert Praises President Ho Chi Minh and His Qualities of An Outstanding Leader

In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s correspondents in the UK on the occasion of the late leader's 134th birth anniversary (May 19,1890 - 2024), British historian John Callow highlighted the presence of President Ho Chi Minh and the stamp of his personality to the national liberation, reunification or path through peace and independence of Vietnam
May 20, 2024 | 23:51

"Ho Chi Minh was an incredible figure on so many different levels: man of action, revolutionary, patriot, scholar, poet, politician, theorist and great Marxist, having all of these in his make-up, blended together like veins of gold running through him," stated John Callow.

Ho Chi Minh was a forerunner, he said, who laid a very clear road map to bring freedom, and prosperity to his country and people.

The British scholar cited the time when Ho Chi Minh was at the founding conference of the Communist Party of France in the streets of Paris taking his message to the League of Nations appeals on behalf of the Vietnamese people who did not yet have a state.

"It was a long, incredibly rich career that saw him constantly learning, adapting, evolving, always carrying the people with him, always having a sense of what was new, of how the West and its industry and its ideas could not submerge Vietnam, but how those positive elements within it could enhance what was already there in Vietnamese culture," Callow noted.

The historian further praised Ho Chi Minh's knowledge, adding that it í one of the secrets of his greatness of Ho Chi Minh

"[He is] a man who could combine so many facets, a leader in the richest and most democratic sense of that word who could inspire people, who understood world culture and Vietnamese culture and combined the progressive legacies of Confucianism alongside the positive legacies of the West," he said.

Ho Chi Minh’s Marxism was not a dogma. Instead, it was a guide to action that was creative, that could be individually tailored, and used above all in the service of the people. Callow stated that, by understanding socialist internationalism to his fingertips, Ho Chi Minh can see unity- unity of the Party, of the people, of the wider socialist movement. And that's what makes him a world statesman of the highest caliber.

Also, Ho Chi Minh's four little volumes produced in the English language during the 1960s and the 1970s, are incredibly rich and varied. Callow believed that the volumes deal with day-to-day topics, living in the moment, the problems of fighting imperialism. They also deal with the problems of building in the future, items of Vietnamese traditional culture, the roles of religion, of women, and of the family.

"Tu Tuong Ho Chi Minh" or "Ho Chi Minh's Thoughts" is a creative conversation with his readership, with the people. This means that it provides a spur to action, but also a very firm moral compass, rooted in the people, in the land, in the alliance with the small peasantry themselves.

"All of these were the preconditions for victory, for transformation, for statehood, for breaking the shackles of empire and domination, and for removing the racism that had been vested upon the Vietnamese people, under French, and then under American colonization," said Callow.

According to the British scholar Ho Chi Minh’s Thought is truly remarkable. On all kinds of levels, his message is freeing people, freeing their minds, freeing the chains of poverty, of absolute poverty, of subjugation, of allowing the nation to enjoy its full riches. The message is not only about escaping poverty, having a good standard of living, but is also about mental poverty being shackled into a colonial deferential mindset.

Ho Chi Minh’s Thought folds just like the finely tempered steel of a metal blade, said Callow, with so many different sources and ideas.

Expert Praises President Ho Chi Minh and His Qualities of An Outstanding Leader
John Callow (Photo: VNA).

John Callow (Historian, trade unionist). He has written has written Witchcraft & Magic in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Europe (co-authored with Professor Geoffrey Scarre); James II: King in Exile; Embracing the Darkness: A Cultural History of Witchcraft, and The Last Witches of England: A Tragedy of Sorcery and Superstition. His research field includes Early Modern witchcraft, politics and popular culture.

"Ho Chi Minh, whose father was a Confucian scholar, has seen Vietnamese traditional culture. But also he had been to Europe, and in that experience of really being in the center of the European Enlightenment thought, the world of Spinoza as well as Marx or Lenin, never once did he abandon his own host culture," he said.

In other words, Ho Chi Minh never lost sight of his people or their great cultural gains. Everything he learned, everything he brought back, the version of Marxism that he forged through the struggle of the Independence War, was a creative process. Thanks to this process, he was able to take the very best from Western thought and philosophy and economics and marry it to Vietnamese traditional culture.

"This has made Ho Chi Minh's Thoughts so durable. It was a process to seeing the world, a guide to action, and a series of principles. He pointed out that has what has enabled the Party and people of Vietnam to go forward in a creative manner, to surmount the terrible difficulties they've had since the late 1980s, to survive in a world that so often is hostile to them, to creatively apply the principles of Doi Moi (Renewal)," he said.

The historian said today Vietnam is changing, being on the global scene and operating in global markets. The country has recovered itself splendidly and its young vibrant population deserves the good things in life. Callow believed President Ho Chi Minh’s creative dynamic could lead seamlessly to the achievements of national liberation through the terrible fights that inspired generations of Vietnamese to follow in his flame, to follow in his path, to make those sacrifices for a better world.

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