Tran Thi Tuyet:
When the war ended and peace
came back again, life was quite easy. The population put up truck
gardens, orchards, and paddy fields. Life was quite easy. Life from
1954 to 1956 and even 1957 was
But when the Diem's agroville program was carried out, then in the
village of An Hiep an area of several dozens hectares was carved out in
order to build an agroville. This area included orchards, paddy fields,
houses and graves belonging to the inhabitants of the village.
In order to build the agroville, the resident
population had to be moved to another area. Then all the orchards were
destroyed and the graves bulldozed.
The inhabitants of the villages in the surrounding
area were then forced to work on the construction of the agroville.
Therefore, they rounded the population of An Binh Tay where I was living
up every day and herded them to the village of An Hiep to do corvée
A policeman named Duong was a very brutal one. Every
day he rounded people up, herded them away, and dismantled the houses to
clear the ground for the construction of the agroville. Therefore, the
life of the general population was extremely hard and difficult at that
Young men were press-ganged into the army, middle aged
people were forced to do corvée labor and to build the agrovilles,
houses were destroyed and graves were bulldozed. Therefore, life was in
utter confusion. The population suffered terribly. The outrage of the
inhabitant of An hiep and the villages in the Ba Tri
area was to the extreme.
Therefore, at one time the people staged an uprising.
They beat on the drums and the wooden gongs and struggled to be able to
go back to their former villages in order to produce again. They
demanded that their former orchards and paddy fields be returned to them
so that they could produce and earn a living again.
During the uprising, there were young people who could
not suppress their anger and so they, on their own, fetched knives and
killed the policeman named Duong. They said that if the policeman named
Duong was allowed to live, they would not be allowed to go back to their
former places again. So they killed him in order to be able to go back
to their former villages and to avoid having to do corvée labor for the
Therefore, during the uprising, when the population
heard the sounds of the drums and the gongs and the news that the
liberation or revolutionary forces were coming in order to help them in
the uprising and to help change their lives and bring back a life of
comfort and happiness to the population, every inhabitant became so
eager that he just went out there and helped destroy the agroville, the
strategic hamlet, so as to be able to return to their former places.
For all these reasons, the people were quite confident
in and quite supportive of the revolution. Hence, during the first
phrase of the uprising, the popular movement was very forceful. This was
because everybody was very angry.
Everyone had been forced to do corvée labor, everyone
had been relocated into the strategic hamlet and everyone had been
forced to leave their homes. Therefore, the people had become very
outraged. And so when there was an order for uprising, people just
This was especially because the policy of
concentrating the population into the agroville and press ganging the
young men into the army had created disruptions in the lives of the
population. The uprising would then liberate the population, allowing
them freedom to go back to their former villages to lead normal lives
and to produce again. The idea that they would not be driven out of
their homes again and that their graveyards would not be bulldozed again
and that life would be normal again made people extremely eager.
Therefore, during the first
few nights of the uprising, whenever the people heard the sounds of the
drums and the gongs they automatically, without having to be prodded by
anybody at all, went out there to participate. And those who had blood
debts with the people – now, the young and healthy people, without
anybody telling them to do so, would take up knives and chased after the
despotic policemen so as to be able to go back to their former patches
of land again. So this was what things were like in the agrovilles
during the uprising.