Friday, November 19, 2010
Saigon, Day 2
Our first full day in Saigon we got up and hit the war museum, which yes, is full of propoganda but we skipped most of that opting for the section with actual artifacts and photography from The Vietnam War-or more appropriately called by the rest of the world-The American War.
I'm very sensitive to anyone purposely hurting each other. I can't even watch fighting sports of any kind. It was sick to see some of the photographs of soldiers while torturing children or having chunk of body parts flung about nonchalantly, counting each piece of what used to be human lives, as Viet Cong whether they were civilans, women, children, or complete innocents.
It's embarrassing to know so little about this was as it was so recent ago (Khmer Rouge, being even more recent, and I know even less about that!). I didn't even know what the Khmer Rouge was/is. Talking to other travelers, it seems this is fairly common. No one seems to know a ton, if much at all about it. We (the other travelers I've met and I),wonder how and why we don't really know about these things. And I don't just mean Americans (we're notorious for not knowing anything about the rest of the world. I can't say that I don't understand where that stereotype comes from; I certainly add to it, sadly enough).But I'm certainly not the only one who's a little daft on this subject.
We couldn't really find any good history or explanation for the Vietnam War either. Nothing is clear or concise in any country's history of the event.
There are guesses and theories but there doesn't seem to be any agreement on the specifics , which is why I guess it was ruled an illegal war by the United Nations. The U.S. is still paying fines, damages, and retributions imposed by the U.N. to this day. The retribution part has been done in the laziest and stupidest way possible: like planting pine trees in the wiped out rainforest areas instead of replanting rainforest where tigers and rhinos used to live.
The whole vegetation, I'm sure, has changed the wild life, soil, everything.
I know a few Vietnam War vets and they weren't ever really sure what the war was about either. A good friend of mine still has a lot of difficulty with the things he saw there.
I wonder what makes the ones who go so far, so far wrong/evil, that makes them do so...like the man in one photograph smiling while hurting a small child. I hardly think he was the enemy, and even if he was, he was above all else, a child! And then some of these men go home to their own families, their own children. The mob/military mentality is a very disturbing thing about the human mind. Ugh. Sick.
And no matter what the war or the reason for it...it's still another human life.
Like I said I'm super sensitive to people hurting each other intentionally. I can't even watch boxing, or a close up of a fight during a hockey match, despite my love of the sport. So to see those things for is, as for most, I'm sure, gut-wrenching! But important to know about and understand what has-and in some places still is, happening.
Afterward we had lunch--which while I'm writing this seems terrible to have the thought of food places in such proximity to such horror, even if only in writing--at an overpriced seafood restaurant. I had dry chicken.
That night we returned to the acoustic car we visited last night. I love this place. The variety of music and quality and talent of the performers. That, and it's a total local dig that doesn't mind us pale folk dropping in. I highly recommend it.