FEATURE: Lao Independence Day tale a treasure younger generation must know
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - October 12, 1945 was a critical day in Lao history as it marked a turning point in the country’s struggle for liberation from foreign domination.
Celebrated on that date every year since, this year marks the 73rd Lao Independence Day.
Retired Major Sisouk Inthavong, a veteran of Xieng Khuang province Military Command, shared his thoughts on the importance of the day.
He said that the declaration of the day showed the world that Laos was a nation with own territory.
“If the day was not declared at that time, revolutionary task might not have been achieved on target,” Major Sisouk said.
He said the people of Laos are currently experiencing the benefits of multi-sectoral development which owes much to the courage of those who shaped events leading to the declaration of independence.
As such October 12, 1945, was a landmark for Laos and marked the success of the Lao people in their fight against foreign aggressors to wrest back ownership of their nation’s destiny.
Independence Day was a great victory in that the world finally recognised the independence and territorial integrity of Laos, and the right of the Lao people to govern their own affairs.
The occasion was the fruit of the revolutionary movement under the leadership of the Indochinese Communist Party.
A large number of Lao people and their brethren from other Indochinese countries sacrificed their lives in the battle to restore independence.
The victory achieved on October 12 heralded the start of a bright new era in which Lao citizens and the whole country enjoyed independence, sovereignty, and their territorial rights.
The victory, which came after a protracted period of fighting, reflected the strong desire of the Lao people for mastery over their nation, as well as for full independence and unity.
October 12, 1945, also put an end to interference by fascist groups, which had been expanding their power during World War II.
Independence was also achieved through years of fighting by multi-ethnic Lao, who fought against the intervention and aggression of imperialism.
Foreign powers sought to expand their domination in many countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, where they ruled by force.
The events of October 12 proved of great significance in the struggle of the Lao people as they succeeded in shaking off the administrative yoke of the French imperialists who had ruled over the country for decades.
The struggle for independence laid the foundation for the Lao people to unite in their fight for liberation.
People of all classes united in a way never seen before in Laos.
The fighting at this time involved direct confrontation between the Lao, the French imperialists and the Japanese forces.
This marked the beginning of a united fighting force that sought to put an end to internal divisions that centred on the class structure that existed in Laos at that time.
The Indochinese Communist Party was established in 1930 and Phak Khaen Lao (Lao Party of Lao region) was born on Donxingxou Island in central Vientiane in 1934.
This gave the Lao revolutionaries a new impetus and direction in their fight against the French aggressors and Japanese armed forces.
On May 9, 1945, the Soviet Union’s Red Army gained victory over the German forces, spurring the end of World War II.
Shortly after Japanese armed forces declared unconditional surrender.
The changing international situation favoured those countries fighting for independence, such as Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Decisively taking this historic opportunity, the Indochinese Communist Party led by Vietnam’s President Ho Chi Minh organised uprisings and seized administrative power throughout Indochina.
In August, the Vietnamese revolutionary movement declared success, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was established on September 2, 1945.
Laos also seized the opportunity and its citizens rose up to overthrow the Japanese forces and French colonialists on August 23, 1945.
There was a public gathering in Vientiane at the sports stadium (now Chao Anouvong Stadium) to proclaim the country’s independence to the world and establish the Issara government (Free Lao government).
It is such events that should be recalled by all generations of Laos as they benefit from the heroic sacrifice of their forbears.