The unknown face of Vietnam War

I am always interested in the history of the country’s that I’m planning to travel to. I wonder what they have been going through till now, what’s the reason why they are so happy although they own a little and still has “the happiest person on the world look” on their face.

Vietnam and Cambodia have their heart breaking stories in the past as a nation…I have a deep understanding of and support these people and the countries who defended their land with their blood like the independency battles that my beautiful country, Turkey, had to go through in the past.

As a traveller, it is not always the pink clouds and skies, we have a responsibility to share with the world of what happened  to humanity on those lands in the past…I had two articles that I was having difficulties with while trying to figure out how to write. One is the Polpot’s Genocide in Cambodia and the other is the Vietnam War which I could recall some pictures I had seen in the TV and later learnt a lot about. The tourist guide in the Killing Fields in Cambodia said:

You, foreigners, journalists, bloggers, tourists, travellers don’t just share the beautiful side of my country, share what you have seen here on these killing fields with the world, talk to everyone in your country, write about it so that everyone could see the real cost of a genocide, war!  The history repeats itself and at some point in a different land  a similar case will happen and YOU will be the ones to stop it with your awareness…

I am writing about the Vietnam War from the books I’ve read, movies I have watched and from my experiences of visiting the jails and the war museum while avoiding to make the topic intense but I want one thing from you. When you are in Vietnam, make sure you go out of your comfort zone a bit more to visit the War Museum and the jails to see the pictures that I cannot share with you here as they are intense and stories with your own eyes…don’t forget to read about the letter of a 23 year old Vietnamese girl wrote to Barack Obama at the end this article…

Reading & watching the movies about the Vietnam War before off to Vietnam

Reading Vietnam: The Real War and watching the documentaries and the movies helped a lot. I guess everyone watched “Good morning Vietnam” in which Robbin Willams was the leading role, right?

THE WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM

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 The Vietnam War we know here is actually known as American War in Vietnam and they have the right to call it like that of course. You can see the tanks, helicopters and war jets in the entrance of the War Remnants Museum which is located in the center of Ho Chi Minh.

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It’s not my intention to give a history lesson but what was the reason of this war?

Vietnam was started to be divided as North and South. American Government supported South Vietnam as it didn’t want communism to spread around the world as North Vietnamese were close to communism regime.  Day by day America placed more troops in Vietnam…

The war begins…

When American troops were hit with a missile by the North Vietnam Army, the war officially began. America was bombing all day long  but soon they realized that this wasn’t the most efficient way to stop Viet Congs (the communist guerillas in South Vietnam). American troops started to fight with Viet Congs following them into the deep jungle without realizing that they were being pulled to the traps of  Cu Chi Tunnels. Viet Congs were hiding down in the Cu Chi Tunnels from the heavy bombings till it gets dark and once the bombings stopped,  they were coming out to dig more tunnels with their bare hands and the rest were attacking the American troops nearby.

The Agent Orange…

When America was not able to cope with the Viet Congs coming out of the hundreds of kilometeres of Cu Chi Tunnels, he came up with a bigger plan of using Agent Orange in a wider area above the tunnels that killed and crippled many Vietnamese regardless of whether they were  Viet Congs or innocent villagers.

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Viet Congs were still not giving up. They were attacking even with more power thanks to the help coming from Soviet and Chinese supporters. North Vietnam Army attacked to 36 centers and most major cities at the same time.

The world stands up…IMG_8154

When the photos and the news spread to the west of the world, nations started to stand up for Vietnam, especially Americans having 485K loss.

Nations from Europe to South America, groups, presidents, students….the world was protesting America to stop the bombings. Do you remember this picture on the left? I had a flash back of the times when I first saw the picture in the TV when I was small…

The declaration of victory of Americans was a false declaration based on the truths the  pictures and documents revealed. Johnson, the American President at that time ordered the bombings to be stopped immediately and Nixon was elected as the new President of America later on.

The situation of the American soldiers

The US pulled back 500K soldiers in 3 years. Can you imagine the American soldiers situation who stayed in Vietnam after this? Most documentaries about Vietnam War were showing that some of the soldiers lost their minds and most of them suffered from drug addiction.

Can you think what would happen if the soldiers in that state of mind attacked a village? When the news of  the masaccre in My Lai which American soldiers killed 300 innocent villagers, the intensity of the protests around the world rose up. What was worse is most of the American soldiers didn’t know why they were brought to Vietnam. The ones who went back to their countries after awhile had to face with psychologic problems, traumas, nightmares and all kinds of addictions.

The fall of Saigon…

After American soldiers left Vietnam, it was the North and South Vietnam who were killing each other…the last part of the war resulted in North Vietnam Army taking over Saigon and changing the name of the city into Ho Chi Minh.

Failing in humanity…

The pictures of The Vietnam War which monsterized the people, are revealed at the War Museum…A picture that shows a soldier holding the head of a village man that was cut from his body, another soldier with a skull on his tank or throwing the slaves alive out of the helicopters hundreds of meters above from the ground in front of the victim’s family and even worse cases…

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You’ll see a lot of people looking at the pictures very carefully and reading all the information written under the pictures,  at some point there will be lines of people in front the pictures to get closer and read the information cause there are important details revealed under those pictures…

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The pictures here are connected to each other, you’ll find yourself going from one picture to another. The hardest one is to see how families were struggling to stay alive together during the war time…

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In the museum you can find The US Declaration of Independency, an article that New York Times published and the letter on normalization of the relationships between Vietnam-America…

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Some of the posters that were prepared to be used in the protests against the American forces…
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Here are some of the pictures from the protests that happened all around the world to stop the American bombings…

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Was it worth it?

We said Agent Orange..this was a type of chemical that if anybody did breathe or if it was mixed in the drinking water, it was not only affecting that person but also the next generations as well. The children of the American soldiers were affected as much as the second generation in Vietnam still going through the pain. It shows itself as vital skin problems, melting bones or abnormalies in the body shape…all the cases that have been facing the affects of Agent Orange have been photographed and these photos are shown in the War Museum to be remembered forever.

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A letter to Barack Obama…

We’re gonna finish our article with the letter to Barack Obama from a 23 year old Vietnamese girl who is the second generation victim of Agent Orange… you can find the English version below the Vietnamese in the same picture.

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