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Australia, Vietnam and white male supremacy

I don’t know who came up with the macabre notion of recreating the concert at which Little Pattie was performing when the Battle of Lon Tân commenced fifty years ago.

I don’t know who came up with the even more macabre notion of ABC TV’s Australian Story filming the recreation.

I do know that it should be no surprise to anyone that the Vietnamese government, citing the sensitivities of the people in Lon Tân and its surrounds, have, at the last minute, baulked at the notion of Australia recreating the circumstances in which that battle took place and refused to allow planned commemorations to go ahead.

I find it difficult to imagine that Australians would permit similar commemorations being enacted in our country, had we suffered the large-scale destruction wrought upon the Vietnamese by the US and its allies in a filthy war from which we finally withdrew in so-called “honourable defeat,” leaving a napalmed, land-mined landscape behind us and the communist regime intact.

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull and his ministers have expressed their deep disappointment in the Vietnamese government’s decision, and are particularly outraged at the last-minute nature of it. Perhaps the Little Pattie concert was too much of a stretch for the Vietnamese.

… the gala dinner, concert and the expectation of more than 1,000 Australians at the Long Tân memorial cross was seen as an insensitive celebration.

Yes. I get that. I would have expected Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to get that as well, and nip it in the bud.

However, Australia doesn’t care much for the feelings of brown people. There’s an example of this almost daily: indigenous youth in Don Dale. Asylum seekers and refugees in atrocious conditions on Manus and Nauru. The bribing of those countries and Cambodia to take refugees off our hands because they’re all brown aren’t they, so they should get on. The death of yet another indigenous woman in police custody. The conservative white male outrage over Section 18c.

The dominant Australian attitude as expressed by politicians and media would seem to be one of white entitlement: our sensitivities are paramount in the Lon Tân situation, not those of the brown people who cannot escape the repercussions of that war. We are apparently entitled to restage the entertainment of our troops, and if the Vietnamese want to stop us they are ill-willed spoil sports who will further destabilise our veterans.

Australians should never have been conscripted to fight in the Vietnam War. They were treated hideously when they returned. Successive governments have dark histories concerning their attitudes to and neglect of war veterans. Accusing the Vietnamese of destabilising them is hypocrisy.

In neighbouring Laos, the arms and legs of children and rice farmers are still blown off when they step on land mines, fifty years later. I’ve stood on the Russian airstrip in Phonsovan, Northern Laos where the CIA conducted its “secret war” and seen the napalmed jungles, and the bomb craters outside the caves to which the villagers fled when they no longer had anywhere to hide. I’ve walked the Plain of Jars on a narrow path marked by white-painted stones, on either side of which there remains uncounted numbers of active mines. This is the legacy the US and we, its allies, left in Vietnam and Laos.

So the Vietnamese government refuses to permit a gala dinner, concert and large numbers of Australians at the memorial cross? I’m OK with that. There’s nothing to prevent the veterans already in Lon Tân from holding their own ceremony of remembrance. They don’t need Australian Story to do that.

We’ve never been invaded. It’s one of our deepest collective fears. The arrival of a few thousand boat people causes us to construct a fortress around ourselves, and a border force in black shirts to protect us. We spend billions on keeping invaders out. We torture them, children and all, to dissuade other potential invaders. Yet we believe are entitled to perform our ceremonies in another country where we slaughtered its people in the service of the US for seven years.

That’s privilege. That’s entitlement. That’s white male supremacy.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

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60 comments

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  1. Jaquix

    So Malcolm still has some OUTRAGE left in him? Im surprised, he hasnt had anything to say about those children being abused on Nauru. That was passed off with a glib “will have a review” comment which means nothing.

  2. peter ball

    I have to agree with this article

  3. jimhaz

    I find the Gallipoli events in Turkey to be embarrassing nationalism. Pathetic.

    [That’s privilege. That’s entitlement. That’s white male supremacy]

    More pathetic.

  4. Catriona Thoolen

    I suppose it would be like the Japanese commemorating the bombing of Darwin, in Darwin? Yes, I can’t see us allowing that.

  5. keerti

    Agreed! And as someone who has lived in Vietnam and has Vietnamese friends, that the Vietnamese are the most welcoming, hospitable and kind people I have met in forty years of travelling. For them to knock this back says something very signifigant. Let’s not forget that australia was a party to the shooting, bombing and napalming of civilians in Vietnam.

  6. economicreform

    Perhaps it would not appear as unduly cynical to suggest that the politicians who expressed their disappointment with the Vietnamese government for failing to give its permission for this event are intent on appealing to a special section of the electorate — veterans from past military conflicts involving Australia. The Vietnam war, in particular, was an ugly and destructive expression of American foreign policy, the invasion justified by the absurd and muddle-headed Domino Theory – which, after the U.S. withdrew from that country, was revealed as having no relevance to the real world. Vietnamese sensitivities in regard to this unfortunate page in their history are justifiable and should be respected.

  7. Glenn K

    I too have travelled extensively throughout Laos and Vietnam. Both are beautiful countries with friendly people. When this story hit the news here, I was and continue to be appalled at the reaction by our pollies and by the press. Have we no understanding of the world outside of our own self centred prism? Australia attacked Vietnam in their homeland – and 50 years later we want to have a big dinner party there with evening entertainment, so our ex-soldiers can reminisce and pay their respects to the people they killed and their comrades who died?
    How incredibly insensitive, particularly given the fact Vietnam continues to this day to suffer ongoing consequences of the “American War” (as they call it).

  8. kerri

    I was saying as much, but not quite so eloquently, to my significant other last night!
    Why do we continue to glorify war when we should feel ashamed at our involvement?
    We show zero sensitivity to the suffering of the people whose countries we invade and destroy.
    White privilege indeed! Political males chest beating and seeking heroism by destroying lives.
    I refuse to observe a minutes silence or to commemerate under the lie of “Lest we forget”.
    Given our continued invovement in wars throughout the brown countries, clearly we have forgotten!
    Disclosure! I taught many Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese refugee kids in the 80’s. Their stories were harrowing.

  9. DiverDan

    White male privilege? Conscripted, with no say in the matter, sent off the a foreign country to be shot at, have a leg blown off or killed. Or to suffer from depression and commit suicide upon return home.

    White males. What have they ever done for us?

    This was not a celebration, it was a commemoration. You myopic, self-righteous types always on the lookout for something to be offended by disgust me.

  10. FreeThinker

    Jennifer, I endorse the sentiments in your article entirely.
    The insensitivity to the Vietnamese is simply breathtaking.

  11. 1petermcc

    Absolutely kerri. In this country we celebrate War as if it’s a goal to aim for, rather than an embarrassing indication that our diplomatic skills are crap.

    When Tony Abbott was calling for troops on the ground in Syria it was clear he loves military campaigns and believes that is some sort of achievement. Sadly this looks like it is across his party these days. I can’t think of any Conservatives who don’t see war as an opportunity now that the more genteel members have been pushed out.

    Will we ever see a day where a PM is embarrassed to declare we are sending troops somewhere? Not before we see a clearing out of the old farts who love this stuff. I hate to sound sexist but the blokes appear to be the problem be it war or social issues.

  12. jimhaz

    @ DiverDan

    Agreed. My “more pathetic” comment was directed at Jennifer Wilson for adding that comment.

  13. jim

    “I suppose it would be like the Japanese commemorating the bombing of Darwin,” Agreed but WTF are our “leaders” ever going to change, is Australia just going to go to war at the whims of the USA again and again .,FFS the killing and the Maiming must stop.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Speaking of ‘white privelage’, did you know that ten Aborigines fought for Australia in the Boer War? In their absence the White Australia Policy was enacted and they were denied entry back into Australia (and their land was seized by the government).

  15. Ishe Boge

    Vietnam was carpet bombed. Thousands of refugees fled to other countries. Syria is being carpet bombed. Thousands of refugees are fleeing to other countries. Somehow, I just can’t see Syria authorising a similar commemoration 50 years from now.

  16. paulwalter

    Myth creation..Roland Barthes would be turning in his grave.

  17. Davidbruce

    Vietnam was another “bankers’ war”. We should not have been there. But I was there shortly after the battle of long tan, flying medevac back to Richmond, Australia. It was long after the “war” ended that I found out why we were there. The huge base at Cam Ranh Bay was built to threaten Mao in China, and allow the “bankers” to control the Bank of China. Russian forces massed on the Manchurian border around the same time convinced Mao to drop his plan for an independent money system for China.

    At the Paris Peace Talks to end the war in Vietnam, Kissinger had to play for time, and continually postponed the first meeting because of the “seating” arrangements, This allowed the United States Geological Survey to complete the oil and gas seismic survey in the Gulf of Tonkin and South China sea, while US naval forces dominated the area. (We have just witnessed a similar event with MH370 off the coast of Western Australia, The seismic survey is almost complete for the area now)

    Our main stream propaganda machine has to continue promoting the bravery of our military. How else could we continue to recruit an all volunteer armed force? Does anyone else get the impression that our government dances to a different tune, not related to the wishes of the majority of Australian voters?

  18. Kaye Lee

    I hesitate to comment on this. My father fought in WWII. He certainly partied on Anzac Day but that involved drinking at the club and playing two-up, something that did not take a great deal of convincing to do as he gambled too much all the time and rarely knocked back a drink. He never wanted to go to the march and he did not easily talk about his experiences. I don’t think any of us can truly understand how the people we send to war cope. They are all different but few are unaffected.

    Eighteen Australians were killed and 24 wounded, while the Viet Cong lost at least 245 dead at Long Tân. Perhaps a different type of commemoration may have been more appropriate.

    “Vietnamese authorities have agreed to allow restricted access to the Long Tan site after negotiations with the Australian Government overnight.

    Access to the site is being limited to groups of 100 people or fewer.

    There will also be a wreath laying in the afternoon, which 1,000 people will be able to attend.

    A Vietnamese Government source told the ABC the Australian Consulate had promised to hold a “low key” event, but that a planned gala dinner and concert were seen as insensitive.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-18/vietnamese-authorities-allow-restricted-access-to-long-tan-site/7761134

  19. Thomas Brookes

    Very good and has been my thoughts since the story broke yesterday, But you left out two important points. 1. Documents released by the US Government confirm that the Bay of Tonkin incident that supposedly triggered the war did not happen and was a lie used to start a war. (sound like a familiar story?) . 2. FFS when are we going to stop glorifying war!!!! A lot of my friends went their and came back ruined for life at what they saw……. “and the ANZAC legend never mentioned blood and guts and tears”….

  20. paulwalter

    Why should they celebrate their people killed on one of the West’s invasive junkets and have their dead used to prop up precisely the sort of ignorant nationalistic myths that enabled the earlier carnage in the first place?

    I want to believe it is a genuine commemoration, with sympathy and thoughts for both sides, but still think it is being used for myth manufacture, of the wrong sort what’s more if it is based on the notion that we were “their” victims, which seems an implied position here.

  21. Michael Taylor

    With the release of the “30 year papers” about a decade ago it was revealed that John Howard bitterly opposed Fraser’s decision to accept Vietnanese refugees into Australia.

  22. Jennifer Wilson

    I think the politicians have f****cked this up, PW. They saw an opportunity to grandstand, both before the Vietnamese government cancelled events and afterwards.
    We shouldn’t forget how reviled the Vietnam vets were when they returned home, including by the RSL. I think the Vietnamese govt. decision yesterday is being used to deflect attention away from that history.
    Now it isn’t Australia who *destabilised* the vets, what a relief, it’s Vietnam.

  23. Jennifer Wilson

    It is totally being used for myth manufacture, PW. Australia has now been badly done by. That will go on the record.

  24. Jennifer Wilson

    I was referring to the masters, Diver Dan, not the slaves.

  25. Jennifer Wilson

    Oh, goodness, I totally missed that.

  26. Peter

    Orphanages my parents visited had deformed children from agent orange which effect children and grand children of veterans as well.

  27. townsvilleblog

    It was a big day in Australian military history and for the blokes who were there, however if Vietnam doesn’t want the day commemorated in their country then that should be the last said of it there. We have had a dawn service here in Canberra and it has been mentioned by both Prime Minister and Opposition Leader this morning in a ceremony to remember the 17 Aussie soldiers lost at the battle. Vietnam won the war so that should be the end of it.

  28. paulwalter

    Yes, I spared a thought for Diver Dan also. You were circumscribed, exploited by the basically same boofheads who brought us Iraq.

    It’s the milking of it for pr that irks many people.

    As Townsville blog more or less says, a little dignity, eh?

  29. Matters Not

    If you want to get a Vietnamese view of the ‘American War’ then visit the War Remnants Museum. Graphic images, I’ve never seen in the western MSM. Some say they are ‘doctored’ but nevertheless they certainly give a different perspective on the ‘American War’. My guide was a former ‘freedom fighter’ of high Military Rank now making a dollar out of tourists. Visit the Củ Chi tunnels also to get more of a feel of what they went through to win.

    I can well understand the sensitivities of the Vietnamese, and their government in particular. They won the ‘American War’ and they are very proud of that win. It’s a unifying story. They don’t want anything to take the shine off that. The ‘locals’ nevertheless are very welcoming and friendly.

    As for those Australians who died, one can only have sympathy. Mere pawns on a global Chess Board.

    As for:

    We’ve never been invaded.

    The Aborigines will beg to disagree.

  30. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    Your recollection matches near identically with mine. My dad never refused drink, or a bet, nor did he march on Anzac day.

    When we understand the ripple effect of war on the majority of people, an effect which finds its way through generations of people… I guess when that happens, we won’t be using refugees as a protective shield against people smugglers.

    (the 1% never go to war)

    I hope Vietnam never allows the circus Gallipoli has become. I don’t understand why any Australian soldiers, really need to go to the battle ground.

  31. Jennifer Wilson

    The *we* I used doesn’t include indigenous people, as I’m speaking from the position of a white woman.

    That *we* has never been invaded in this country: rather we have been the invaders.

  32. helvityni

    ‘We’ve never been invaded.’

    You are too right, Matters Not.

  33. Harquebus

    I loathe the politicians who glorify our soldiers and their deeds and sacrifices on the one hand and then, at every opportunity, take away the very same freedoms and liberties so valiantly defended with the other.

    I have the album and listen to this song every remembrance day.

    The pogues – The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

  34. kerri

    And Lest We Forget that war is a huge business to our “mates” the US?
    From wages paid to unemployable cannon fodder to “rebuilding” contracts won by companies frequently owned by senior politicians cough cough Halliburton Dick Cheney!
    To join in US led war is to be the poor cousin who puts out but never gets back what the Yanks do in business.

  35. mark delmege

    If the Australian people (men and women who vote in the pollies) and government really understood they might apologise. But they are too arrogant and narrow in their outlook. I have been to too many counties devastated by the Anglo outlook and actions and it continues to this day.

  36. FreeThinker

    Given that the Vietnamese perspective is that the conflict was ‘ the American war’ on the people and the ecology of that nation, and given that the Australian contingent are still regarded as mercenary foreigner forces supporting the Americans, the Vietnamese Government has been very gracious in permitting small groups of Australians to visit Lon Tan.

    In Australia, there seems to be little recognition of the devastation Vietnam was subjected to over a decade with millions of lives lost or tragically transformed by this American folly.

    Sadly, the MSM here focuses on the phenomenology of ‘ the Lon Tan battle’ , and less so on the reasons why Australia was dragged into this conflict in the first place, or on the morality that 20 year olds without the vote being balloted in as conscript soldiers to the Australian army to serve overseas.

  37. wam

    as a frogophobes, My dad and I loved the dien bien phu defeat of the french and a vietnam free from europeans white rulers, A read of ho chi minh story revealed the usual backstabbing of little brown people by the septics(japan ww1 by poms) who delayed the victory, using horrific war power, for another 20 years. Then petty sanctions for another 9 years. But the soldiers and conscripts were doing their duty and should not have been treated like pariahs.
    ps mt plenty of Aboriginal homes have photos of black men in slouch hats.
    pps When the kiwis were coming home round the cape they called in to south africa for a rugby game surprise surprise the Maori players weren’t included.

  38. Tugsley Too

    Diver Dan , You and many others confuse the word conscription in the context of the armed services of Australia. Twice since Federation has active service conscription been put to the electorate and twice it has been rejected. Disregarding peer pressure , the choice to fight in an active theatre of war has always been one of each and every individual soldier.

  39. Deanna Jones

    That’s the funny thing with white male supremacism: it’s quite happy to eat its own in the form of sending great swathes of other white males off to be used as cannon fodder for its squabbles over resources. We may not have had formal conscription here but the informal social controls used, like Anzac mythology, work almost as well. Those same forces allow male supremacism to exploit the nation’s collective uteri for the purpose of churning out yet more cannon fodder. I wish white males would push back against the oppressor’s demands of them instead of blaming women and minorities for these things. It’s not women who send you to war. Women’s groups were the first to actively campaign against it.
    ” I did not raise my son to be a soldier”

  40. Thomas Brookes

    Harquebus, the song “and the band Played Waltzing Matilda” is also the song I take most note of (along with Redgums “I was only 19”)… Like the Pogues song says “And the young people ask me, “what are they marching for?” And I ask myself the same question”

  41. Harquebus

    Redgum’s “I was only 19” is a classic. Easy to play as well.

    “‘Older men start wars, but younger men fight them.” — Albert Einstein.

  42. jimhaz

    After reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North a couple of years ago, I decided to google an uncle I had affection for as a young lad to see if I could find a military record. I knew he was in Changi, but knew nothing of his story.

    To my surprise I found an interview transcript when he was 80.

    Interview with Leslie Gordon Gaffney (NX71862) Div. H.Q. ‘F’ Force POW

    Fascinating read.

    “Changi was an old man’s home compared to where we went after”

  43. diannaart

    Deanna

    The stats of male on male violence eclipses that of male on female, pales into insignificance (except for victims) that of female on male or other females.

    Not much can be done for women and other maligned sections of humanity until men stand up for themselves against other men. Be it in any community, irrespective of race – where white dominate, that’s where white men call the shots, where black dominate black men are in control.

    Of course, taking on the powerful men, means working with the other; the women and other people of ‘difference’. For a start this would stop the veneration of war – not good for the arms industry, military budgets, nor for rounding up the fodder of male (and now female) soldiers to act as fodder for the war-mill.

    This also means taking on the minuscule numbers of Thatchers and Bishops and other women who have always sided with the so-called ‘alpha’ males.

  44. Harquebus

    Thanks for that link jimhaz.
    They don’t make ’em like they used to.

  45. Deanna Jones

    dianaart, I agree but it’s not a school of thought that seems to surface much in these discussions. Men are quick to point out the systemic violence they are coerced into by the state, but as if this is an absolute given and not something they can challenge. Is this because of ideals surrounding masculinity? Or is it something else? I tend to think both. By the time men realise the state has played them for a sucker with all the “fighting for your country” rhetoric, it’s too late, they have served their purpose. My dad was a WWll veteran, but later in life after a series of strokes and then dementia, Veterans Affairs would not even help me to purchase a special wheelchair for him so he could go out on the weekly bus trips with the care staff. “Serve your country” really means “Serve your purpose”.

  46. diannaart

    Deanna

    My father was a WW11 vet as well, served in North Africa, New Guinea was injured and suffered from malaria respectively, he was an alcoholic and died of a brain haemorrhage aged, 52. Vet Affairs tried to convince mum she was not entitled to a War Widows Pension. Thanks to the aid of another WW11 Vet, mum was able to receive the WWP.

    We need more men to stand up to the government and corporate bullies along with women who are fighting against the appalling treatment of other people as we are currently doing.

    This system we have now traps men and harms men as much as it does women. How can it be some form of emasculation to stand up for humanity; children, wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, sons, brothers, friends and themselves? Yet, any discussion tends to result in a game of “women are as bad as men” from Men’s Rights Groups – maybe women are (as bad), but women do not and never have held the balance of power, could that be because most women are not as aggressive?.

    Men do commit more violence. We see the evidence of that every day. I have personally experienced it in my life. Statistics merely confirm what we know. It is not blaming all men for violence asking the majority of men to put an end to this violent aspect of what is considered manhood. Behaving like an adult male does not mean being the most aggressive, most assertive – we do not live in small tribes any more, yet we behave as if we do.

    I am sick to death of being called names and insulted (not much here but elsewhere), being called everything from a troll through to a whore. Just for giving my opinion.

  47. brad

    Jennifer, glad to see one author can see clearly on this matter.
    After listening to various news commentators on this issue I’d almost given up on finding a sane voice.
    Mainstream media epitomizes shallow analysis and lack of empathy and the sooner it grows up or disappears the better.

  48. Jennifer Wilson

    Thanks Brad.

  49. Greg Reilly

    Says everything I was thinking at the time. Well put. Even though the Vietnamese won their independence, after years of bloody struggle, as a country with a still developing economy, we still think we can march in from our wealthy first world and do as we please. This was so disrespectful of the Vietnamese. Who’s idea was it anyway? Our war veterans?

  50. Jennifer Wilson

    Greg, my sense is the veterans were happy to accept a low-key event, their main purpose being to confront their own demons and honour their fallen.

    As usual, politicians saw opportunities for themselves, and ruined it. How many times have we seen this story?

  51. diannaart

    Jennifer, I think you have nailed the issue.

    While I never agreed with the war on Vietnam, nor Australia’s part in it, I do understand Vietnam vets very real stake in the history of that war. One way of laying demons to rest is to return. I believe the Vietnam government are very aware of this. Then our ‘media-savvy’ politicians saw opportunities for themselves.

    So it goes…

  52. Jaquix

    I can understand the Vietnam Vets wanting to return to the country and be with their mates, and honour the ones they lost. No question about that. But you also have to realise to expect the Vietnamese to be welcoming them is a bit insensitive. Its a bit like the Germans trekking to northern France every year to honour their war dead from the 2nd world war. Imagine how the diggers would feel about that, and of course the locals whose lives were so disrupted, and ruined by the Germans.

  53. brad

    Mainstream media has lost the plot, assuming that at one point in time they had the plot.

    “Mainstream news is little more than baby pablum put together and spoon fed to you in nice, neat sound bites to make sure you never get the whole truth. Mainstream news is useful for only one thing – to get an idea of what the people in power want you to focus your attention on. It doesn’t matter whether it is truthful or not. It doesn’t matter that it is shallow or heavily biased. It doesn’t matter that the entire background and much of the story is missing. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not. It only matters that you spend your precious consciousness focused on it because that means you’re NOT focused on anything else that might tell you the whole truth – or develop your ability to discern the truth for yourself.”

  54. Keesha

    As one born in South Vietnam, I was deeply offended, not by the proposed commemoration by Australians, but by the insensitivity of this article with its misguided or uninformed description of the events of “The Vietnam War”.

    This was not a war between America and Vietnam as is so often portrayed by the media. This was a war defending the freedom of the people of South Vietnam against the ruthless grab for power by the Communist regime with its roots in North Vietnam. Allies such as America and Australia were assisting the South Vietnamese defend themselves.
    It was a horrific war with both sides employing some sickening tactics. But this does not make the defense of the South Vietnamese any less worthy. The author seems to propose some bizarre sense of morality that judges the merit of the war by the nobility of the tactics employed in fighting it.

    Sadly,the allies ultimately abandoned South Vietnam and it was conquered by the invading Northern forces. Many thousands fled to safety abroad. Many millions more remained to suffer the consequences of the invasion. Their freedom, their culture, their lifestyle and often their possessions lost forever.

    Vietnam was not “reunified” as Government propaganda filling the pages of glossy travel brochures would have us believe. South Vietnam was invaded and defeated. Countless deaths resulted from Ho Chi Minh’s ruthless grab for power and control of South Vietnam.
    To compare it to Japan invading Australia is also off on another misguided tangent. In Vietnam we have a situation where the invading victors claim it is insensitive for those on the losing side of the war to commemorate their losses. This is not the situation between Australia and Japan. Countless South Vietnamese would welcome these Australians to their (now dispossessed) country on this and any other occasion.

    The war in Vietnam was a fight for the freedom of millions of Southern Vietnamese. Sadly that fight was lost. Not surprisingly, the aggressors seek to rewrite the pages of history and instead paint their selfish grab for control of South Vietnam as some glorious “reunification”. Anyone who agrees with that interpretation must believe that the livelihood and freedom of millions of Southern Vietnamese is not worth fighting for.

  55. Garry Ford

    I have been interested in Vietnamese history and culture and have visited the country several times. There is no shortage of Communist propaganda on the web and elsewhere, and this article could easily have been written by someone with those intentions.

    Anyone who knows the true history and not the paid communist propaganda understands that the war was about South Vietnam defending the freedom of its people against an attack from the war mongering Communists congregated in North Vietnam.
    Reunification exists only in the eyes of Western tourists fooled by the relentless propaganda. Why do you think thousands of Vietnamese fled the country when the war was lost?

    A brutal war it certainly was. But for the South Vietnamese it was a fight they had to have because it was forced upon them. Sadly they lost and persecution and oppression of the Vietnamese occurs to this very day with people being locked up and beaten literally on a daily basis should they dare to speak against the Government.

  56. Matters Not

    Yes Garry Ford, the ‘history’ is so very, very simple. ‘True’ history and all that, is perhaps even more simple.

    Except when it’s contested. And it is.

  57. Keesha

    I lived through the war, saw it with my own eyes, and could tell many horrific stories of our life in U-Minh, an area famous as a Viet Cong hiding place. Our families had guns put to their heads by the “reunifying Communists” to demand we feed them, they used us as human shields, at night they would terrorise and drop bombs in our towns and cities, where they knew there were civilians – yes, not Americans – local civilians. Often they would use children to plant the bombs and call them heroes. If we tried to escape they would hunt us down, starve us, and tie us naked to trees, left for dead, and kill our families. It might sound like some dramatised Hollywood movie, but this nightmare was our real life daily struggle to survive.

    Many westerners love Vietnam for the cheap beers and prostitutes, but they are ignorant of what has led to this, and if you try to explain the history to them, they won’t listen, because it doesn’t serve their wants.

    When we eventually lost the war the invading Communists stole our houses, our livelihoods, and destroyed our culture, we were banned from entering university, sent to “re-education camps” to be tortured and brainwashed.

    I was one of the fortunate ones to escape, But I still have family living in Vietnam. I know what it was like to live in Vietnam then and I know what it is like now. To this day, local people still get kicked out of their houses by the “authorities” for no reason other than to pander to rich investors, it’s called “dan oan”. Some of the victims set themselves alight in a desperate protest, and are then arrested for daring to protest. Free speech? That will get you beaten and thrown in prison.

    We fought to escape this terror. Our allies helped us to fight this terror. This is the terror that won the war. This terror is now called “Reunification”, thanks to Government propaganda. Would you like this type of liberation to happen to your country?

  58. Keesha

    Garry I read your post and I am quite impressed as you seem to be one of the westerners who have genuine knowledge of the history of Vietnam and smart enough not to be fooled by the Government propaganda.

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