HCMC Dining Guide

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Agitprop

Agitprop: Derived from agitation and propaganda. Originated in the USSR as a shortened version of otdel agitatsii i propagandy; in English the Department for Agitation and Propaganda, which was later given the Orwellian-sounding title of Ideological Department. Agitprop consists of plays, films, writing, and other forms of art displaying an overtly political message.

Example:
Outside of the Southern Vietnam Armaments Museum on Pham Van Hai sits an array of spectacularly propagandistic statues that would have fit in perfectly in 1950s Moscow or Minsk. Men, some armed with weapons; women, and even children display focused determination; dramatically gesticulating towards triumph over some unseen nemesis. The dichotomy between such government-backed displays of communism on one hand, and the rampant consumerism of the rest of the city on the other, is striking. One must wonder how many young Vietnamese understand what these statues are even meant to represent. As a student of history, I find imagery like this fascinating, and I didn't have to pay a single dong to walk around the museum's grounds.
the child seems to be attempting a heil Hitler
just guessing, but I'm assuming they're riding the wheel of industry
These guys seemed to just be enjoying a swim. Odd.

Proletarians, unite!
for the Fatherland!
to the front!
Onward, to victory!
I didn't get this one.
The fact these statues are relegated to the yard of an obscure museum down an unimportant street speaks volumes to the viability of communism in this country today. It has failed in every country that implemented it, and I think it is only a matter of time before Vietnam completely does away with this obsolete system. It may take a while, but the country is opening up to so much Western influence, and its population is so Western-oriented, that the old status quo is going to have to eventually change. I don't know exactly how that will happen, but the above displays will be pushed even deeper into history's rubbish bin whenever it does.

4 comments:

  1. This'll blow your mind:

    http://www.cracktwo.com/2011/04/25-abandoned-soviet-monuments-that-look.html

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  2. wow, those are amazing! Thanks for the link!

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  3. The statue which you called "Ho Chi Minh & Mao zhedong" is actually "HCM & Ton Duc Thang", I suppose. Ton Duc Thang is the second president of Democratic Republic of Vietnam

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  4. Oh wow, that's a big mistake. Thanks a lot for the correction! I thought he looked just like Mao...

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