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Duy nha^'t ngu+o+`i a'i ngu da.i
Hay nguoi kho^ng quen
No'i tru+o+'c ke^'t qua? chi'nh tri ho.c
O+? Viet Nam

Only a man who is a fool
Or a stranger
Predicts the outcome of politics
In Viet Nam


The tumultuous history of the Hoa Hao mirrors much of the tumult of Indo-China itself . The Hoa Hao through a combination of religious, military and political activities has risen to a position as the most stable population block in the country . They have established themselves as a political force with deep concerns for Viet Nam as well as the Hoa Hao faith . They have shown their strength in combat and in the elective process of government .

The Hoa Hao success in the country-side of the Delta is directly related to the cohesive force of Huynh Phu So's religious and social teaching and an intense hatred for the communist . This hatred, which even transcends their dislike for central authority has lasted for over a quarter of a century and is not expected to diminished in the near future . Their ability to remain a viable force in the governing process of South Viet Nam will depend a great deal on their ability to establish themselves as a legitimate wheel in the functioning of the central government while overcoming their inherent distrust of the Saigon Regime . This can only be done by resolving some of the differences and ambitions of the various factions within the Hoa Hao it self .

This, of course, assumes that South Viet Nam remains free of a communist takeover . This write has been assured that if the communist do succeed in taking over the Government of the Republic of Viet Nam, the Hoa Hao will have no alternative but to fight them even if it means reverting to guerrilla warfare . In discussions with many Hoa Hao, this comes out clearly as the only alternative . It has been rumored that most of the weapons given to the Hoa Hao by the French, Japanese, and Americans more than twenty-five years ago are still in their possession and in workable condition . It is not rumor that there are probably 100,000 weapons in the hands of Hoa Hao Regional Forces, Popular Forces, and Peoples Self Defense Forces throughout the Delta . Many people feel that even if the war in Viet Nam does end on grounds favorable to the South, that these weapons are going to be most difficult to recover .

In the political arena the central government seems unwilling to accept the Hoa Hao or any other political organization as a legitimate opposition party . It is strongly suspected that this is out of fear that the Thieu Regime could not withstand such opposition . To the knowledgeable political observer this seems absurb as the opposition political groups alone are not of sufficient size to drastically change the outcome of a free presidential election . If the Hoa Hao and the other sects were able to combine forces and vote as a block it would be completely different picture, but this also is an extremely remote probability .

Until early 1973 when President Thieu promulgated Decree 60, there were an estimated 13 political parties in Saigon all in various degrees of opposition to Thieu's Democracy Party . Decree 60 ostensibly was written to reduce the number of parties and to establish a viable two or three party system in the country . Its main proclamation stated that to be a recognized political party a groups must have as registered members 25% of the voting age population in 27 of 54 provinces or autonomous cities in South Viet Nam . This of course, is impossible for any of the factions including the Hoa Hao Social Democratic Party . When the uproar died down, Thie invited all parties to join his Democracy Party and his "Peoples Fronts for the Struggle for Peace" movement . The latter movement is simply an organization to develop opposition the Communist Party and its efforts to take over South Viet Nam . On the surface it would seem that Decree 60 offered an opportunity for the various political groups to combine forces to establish a valid opposition party . This of course, overlooks the factionalism and diverse goals of the various parties including the Hoa Hao, a fact that President Thieu is well aware of .

In the foreseeable future few if any of the political parties will relinquish their personal aspirations and join forces with another one . The Hoa Hao certainly will the most reluctant to do so and will persist attempts to force them into an unwanted coalition with another party choosing instead to affiliate with President Thieu's Democracy Party at least for the foreseeable future .

"Trung Tien returned to Han but never became Han's subject
Lord Quan lived with Tsao but never bent his head to Tsao."

                                                                Huynh Phu So

The Hoa Hao has been a force in the latter-day development of Viet Nam . They are a hearty breed with a great capacity for survival . This capacity is not expected to diminish in the future and the Hoa Hao will continue to be in contention for places of power in the central government . Recent attempts to reconcile some of the political differences of the Hoa Hao factions will, if successful, increase their already significant influence in South Viet Nam .