First things first. It has been a couple of days since my visit and I had considered posting this earlier, but with all the madness surrounding our stoopidity to bomb Syria, I had decided to wait. That was until I thought it was just daft to.
Second thing second – I love this song. Natalie Cole does a version, surprisingly you might think, as it was sung by her father, but its brill. I had considered Mellow Yellow as the song title, but thought it was crass!
So, the Ho Chi Minh War Remnants Museum. It costs 40k dong to get in, about £1.25. My cousin Chuck, from Canada, who now resides in Oz, said it was a good place to visit, something a little different and so right he was.
Once again it was a blistering day and when you go into the first hall there is tons of propaganda posters from celebrities, people in the states, Oz and over in Vietnam opposing the Vietnam conflict and its very anti American. Actually, a bit too anti American for my tastes and I formed a quick opinion that this was something I would not like, a very one sided, oppressed story of the war. I donder around anyway, I’ve paid ma fee, however, my opinion was to change, emotionally, which is not like me.
There are 3 floors, so you jump to the top floor and there are two differing rooms with exhibitions. Historic truths , Requiem and War and Peace cover this floor and there are a number of photo’s that tell the story of the war, with some weapons and bombs included. What is overpowering is the destruction involved and inhumanity to fellow man. Bodies dragged by a rope to the back on tanks, slaughter of people and villages and the devastation of forest by chemical weapons. It all tells a bit of history about the general’s, politicians and maps, about what infantries were where.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to ask you a question right now and think about it. Save the answer till the end. How long did the Vietnam War last?
If I thought I maybe was not ready for the second floor, boy was I not ready for the first! I have heard the reference to ‘Agent Orange’, never knowing it’s real reference. So here it is, during the War or conflict, over a 10 year period, the US Army sprayed more than 100 millions litres of Chemical Poison that contained about 400 kilograms of dioxin, that’s roughly 62 stone to you and me. 4.8m Vietnamese people and their next generations were directly affected and endangered by sever disability as a result, the effects of which remain today.
I was walking through the palace the other day and there was a chap, on a crutch with a deformed leg. he was really upbeat and enjoyed the tour, always just in front of me and I could not help thinking about him for the rest of this day. The photo’s of deformity are heart wrenching, I would say somewhat haunting and this continues into the ‘Aggression War Crimes’ gallery, with photo’s from journalists on the ground and the ‘war’ crimes committed on the Vietnamese people.
Interestingly, when you wander into the next room, they have drawings, drawn by local school children, based on what they have learnt about the war. it’s a different take, but still very emotional and while i’m no usually easily tearful, you walk through this gallery, into a small gift shop, which are purses, bangles, bracelets and ornaments made by people affected, people with disability, with 3 people on hand, very polite and I desperately wanted to buy something, but hurriedly walked through, feeling a little shameful.
Once you get back down to the first floor, it puts a different light on the posters and stuff. Outside there were a number of tanks, planes and guns captured and while I did not see it, an interesting ‘Tiger’ cage (that’s how I chose my National Horse by the way), smaller than a rabbit hutch and used by the US to torture 2-3 Viet Cong at a time.
Suffice to say, I did not take many photo’s and the ‘war’ lasted almost 20 years.