Chi Minh and Children: (De)Constructing Narratives of Love and Devotion"
Olga Dror, Associate
Professor of History, Texas A&M University
"Who loves children as much as Uncle Ho Chí
Who loves Uncle Ho Chí Minh as children do?"
These lines from a song by a famous Vietnamese composer Phan Huynh
Dieu encapsulate the story of love and devotion between Ho Chí
Minh and Vietnamese children. In my talk I will explore how the
narrative of this relationship developed using various texts published
in Vietnam before 1975. The process of forging this bond mirrors
the changing values and new identities that were understood as the
transition from past to future in North Vietnam. I will explore
the construction of Ho Chí Minh's cult among the youth by
adults and the youth response to the cult.
Olga Dror was born and raised in Leningrad in the Union
of the Soviet Socialist Republics. She received an M.A. in Oriental
Studies from Leningrad State University in 1987. She then pursued
advanced studies at the Institute for Linguistic Studies in the
Academy of Sciences, Moscow, as well as worked as correspondent,
translator, editor, and anchor for Radio Moscow's Department of
Broadcasting to Vietnam. In 1990, she immigrated to Israel, where
she continued advanced study at Hebrew University studying International
Relations and worked in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
serving as Consul and Administrative Officer for the Israeli Embassy
to the Baltic States in Riga, Latvia, from 1994 to 1996. She then
went back to the study of Vietnam and obtained her Ph.D. from Cornell
University in 2003. Presently she is an associate professor of History
at Texas A & M University. Her interest until rather recently
focused on Vietnamese and Chinese religions and she published a
monograph and two edited volumes on the subject. Currently she works
on identities of Vietnamese children during the war in Vietnam (1965-1975).