Sunday, December 4, 2011

Which Way Did Those Refugees Go?

In a classically hilarious Firing Line episode from 1969, Noam Chomsky has the laughable position that more refugees fled South Vietnam to the north than fled in the other direction.

One exchange begins at the 15:30 mark.  In that exchange about Vietnam, Chomsky blames Vietcong atrocities on American intervention in Vietnam.

At the exchange beginning on the 27:00 mark, Chomsky spins the fiction that the first Communist insurrection in Greece (the one prior to the WWII German invasion) was really an organic, internal "uprising" and not Soviet sponsored at all.

Back to Vietnam, at 37:29 Chomsky states that "there is more evidence that South Vietnam tried to colonize North Vietnam than conversely". Buckley asks if the "infiltrators" from South Vietnam going into the North bumped into the refugees coming south. This is where Chomsky begins his big whopper of a tale, saying that refugees traveled in both directions. At 38:30 Buckley asks about the people going "north to south" and Chomsky is 'baffled'.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), by no means a Western mouthpiece even after the fall of the Soviet Union, here is the breakdown of Vietnamese refugee migration from 1954-1956:

The State of The World's Refugees 2000: Fifty Years of Humanitarian Action, Chapter 4: Flight from Indochina, War and exodus from Viet Nam -

With the founding of a communist government in the north, more than a million people moved south in the years 1954–56. Their numbers included nearly 800,000 Roman Catholics, an estimated two-thirds of the total Roman Catholic population in the north. There was a smaller movement in the opposite direction, The State of the World’s Refugees as some 130,000 supporters of the communist Viet Minh movement were transported north by Polish and Soviet ships.2
2 L.A.Wiesner, Victims and Survivors: Displaced Persons and OtherWar Victims in Viet-Nam, 1954–1975,Westport Press, New York, 1988; A.R. Zolberg et al., Escape from Violence: Conflictand the Refugee Crisis in the Developing World, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1989, pp. 160–70.

That is greater than a 7 to 1 ratio of people fleeing Communism vs. people fleeing 'oppressive' Western influence.  The number of Catholics alone fleeing North Vietnam vs. those fleeing North is 6 to 1.  Since folks towing the Communist line in the West had a direct line to Soviet propaganda, there is little doubt that Chomsky had the 130,000 number etched in his head.

Years later, after the North Vietnamese took over (with the help of the United States Congress), there was another mass exodus  of Vietnamese.  This time they fled by sea from every port in the country, to any port that would take them.

Socialism, especially the International variety, kills more people than any other ideology on earth and everybody outside of the faculty lounge knows it.

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