A 65-year-old former boat person and officer in the South Vietnamese today won a six-figure judgment in Washington state court against people who have accused him of being a communist, the Olympian newspaper reports here.
Former Republic of Vietnam Lieutenant Duc Tan, better known by his Vietnamese name Tân Thục Đức, sued his accusers and won $225,000. A co-plaintiff, the Vietnamese Community of Thurston County, won a separate $85,000 judgment.
(That’s Tan in the photo right, by the Olympian. The man in the middle hugging his friend is Duc Hua – Hứa Minh Đức – the president of the VCTC.)
The defendants are members of a group calling themselves the “Committee against the Viet Cong flag” (in Vietnamese: Ủy Ban Chống Cờ Việt Cộng) based in Lacey, Washington.
In 2003, the Committee allegedly began accusing former Lt. Tan – who had remained active in community affairs, teaching kids to read and write Vietnamese and to sing the South Vietnamese national anthem – of a number of acts allegedly benefiting the communists.
Named as defendants for the libeling are Norman Le, Phiet Nguyen, Dat Ho, Nga Pham and Nhan Tran – better known by their Vietnamese names Lê Thiện Ngọ, Nguyễn Xuân Phiệt, Hồ Tấn Đạt, Phạm Thị Nga and Trần T Nhàn. All and each of them will now be individually responsible for paying the total verdict of $310,000.
Many of the accusations were so false, even the accusers dropped them and by the time trial was about to begin, they were only sticking to three points (as seen in their email here in Vietnamese):
* That Tan and the VCTC had opened a ceremony with the current (communist) Vietnamese national anthem.
(A friend of the Bolsavik’s, living down under and with no knowledge of what transpired, had repeated this accusation to the Bolsavik as if it were Gospel truth.)
Apparently, what happened was that during sound check, the guitarist who had recently visited Vietnam played a couple bars from that song. The VCTC immediately apologized afterwards.
* That a worker at the VCTC’s booth in a 2003 county fair had worn an apron with red and a yellow star.
An apron maketh a commie?? According to the Olympian, a cook at the booth was wearing an apron with the picture of Santa Claus with his red hat with a star that’s yellow.
This reminds the Bolsavik of another star-on-red-background Christmas controversy. Click here if you read Vietnamese.
* That Tan was a snitch for the communists.
The Committee made this accusation, but never offered any evidence in court.
The Olympian‘s story includes an interview with U.C. Irvine Professor Linda T. Vo in which she explained the one question that most often baffles non-Viets: Just why is it that Vietnamese accuse each other of being a communist?
The reason is, explains Professor Vo, labeling someone a communist is “a very easy way to discredit someone in the community.”
Not so very easy any more, if you have to pay $310,000 for the privilege….