Nguyen Thi Sinh:
In January 1960 there was an order for a general uprising. At
night we sounded the drums and the gongs. During the day the women whose
husbands and children were then forced to do corvée labor for the
construction of the agroville went to the military post and demanded
that their husbands and children be returned to them. They said that
their husbands and children had to go home and try to find a living for
their families because they had been forced to do corvée labor month
after month without any relief. A number of local despots, Policeman
Huong among them, opened fire on us, beat us up and threatened us.
They arrested those who stepped out of the crowd and
spoke and had these persons roughed up. Then they chased the rest of the
people home, refusing to give in to the demands. But there were a number
of soldiers who sympathized with us. These soldiers intervened, saying
that the people were right because with their husbands and children
forced to do corvée like that the women could not find a living for
their families since they also had young children and babies to take
care of. Then some people were sick and their parents were aged and weak
and yet they were taken away to do corvée labor.
The sympathetic soldiers said that we were correct in
our demand and that, for the families who were in distress, the husbands
and children had to be released so that they could help out their
families. Otherwise, the soldiers added, these families would die of
starvation. During the previous protests, we had been roughed up in more
ways than one.
But after we got roughed up so
badly, some of the soldiers were moved and realized that we were correct
in our demands so they intervened. Because of this intervention, the
enemy could not remain so adamant so they released a number of men whose
parents were very old, whose children were very young and whose wives
had just given birth to babies. But these people were allowed to go home
only for a few days before they were taken again for corvée labor. They
were not released for good.