So we’ve been to Vietnam and back, and it was rather wonderful. I took at least a gajillion (that’s a word, right?) pictures, and I’ll be steadily getting them up here over the next week or so.
But first I really want to share these pictures from the War Remnants Museum in Saigon. The museum was formerly named The Museum of American War Crimes. That’ll give you a good idea of the tone of the exhibits.
Outside are choppers and tanks, left abandoned around the country by US troops, inside are guns and torture devices. Upstairs are horrific photography collections paying tribute to victims of Agent Orange and napalm; there’s even malformed foetuses to give further impact to the already shocking and distressing exhibits.
But I don’t want to show you any of that.
Among all the horror is a small corner of hope. An area dedicated to the global anti-war effort that took place throughout the Vietnam war. The pictures are incredibly heartening; photos of people standing up for the rights of those they’ve never met. But it was also rather poignant. Firstly, because these people were ignored – despite many extreme protests and self-immolation – and secondly because I wonder if my generation would fight so passionately.
The Occupy Movement was indeed influential, and the Arab Spring, inspirational, but I wonder would people around the world protest for each other, about issues that don’t concern them. Mass-protests these days are often about economics or about something that’s happening within our own country. What I loved reading about the anti-war effort was how poverty stricken people in Calcutta, joined forces with privileged students in Washington fighting for the same cause.