You can’t please everyone, especially those who do their utmost to find fault with a country that has distinguished itself as a national role model in the midst of a global pandemic. Earlier this month, Foreign Policy (FP) published a slanderous and mean-spirited op-ed with the clickbait title Vietnam’s Coronavirus Success Is Built on Repression by Bill Hayton (BH) and Tro Ly Ngheo (Trợ Lý Nghèo translates as “poor assistant.”)
Like the author, whose Vietnam-related claim to fame is that he was a one-time BBC correspondent 13 years ago and who reports from his perch in the English countryside, his supporters are people who appear to have little to no substantive experience with the Vietnam of 2020. What unites them is their visceral dislike and, in some cases, hatred of the country and resentment of its phenomenal success in dealing with the coronavirus. As BH and FP know all too well, there is nothing like a little commie-bashing and red-baiting to excite the base.
It is both ironic and pathetic that BH lives in a country that has failed spectacularly at containing the coronavirus and that many of his sycophants live across the pond, which is the world’s leader in both infections and deaths. The essay and their cheerleading ring hollow to those of us who call Vietnam home.
Shalom (שלום), MAA