For the last few days I have been roaming the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, I had a whole day here to spare so I decided to take in some culture and went to the war museum. You should already know that I am not a fan of war but I thoroughly encourage people to learn from them. I will go out on a limb here and say that the involvement America had wih the war in Vietnam was wrong.
I have the utmost respect for anyone who is willing to give their life up for what they believe in. Soldiers are willing to fight just because they were told to do so, ask questions later or better yet don’t ask at all. I also have taken into account that in the museum I might be getting a Vietnamese biased version of the events that happened. With all that in mind the photographs that I saw at the museum were incredible. Powerful without pulling any punches and a lot of the images were taken by American jounalists. Believe me if you ever get to Ho Chi Minh then this exhibition is worth every penny (12,000 VND at time of writing) but be prepared to be moved.
War is never pretty, the exhibition does not go out of it’s way to hide that. I wonder if during history class in America do they just gloss over the fact that they dumped millions of litres of chemicals into Vietnam codenamed Agent Orange. The effects of which I had never seen up until now, devastating is an understatement. I’m no American History buff and my heart goes out to the families who lost people during that time and I have sympathy for the survivors on both sides. I have no idea what it was like at that time, I can never imagine what was going through the minds of the Vietnamese, the U.S. soldiers or the 2 million or so innocent people that died during the war and what bugs me a little is that I will never know the real story, only what is written and even then it may matter who is writing it.
It’s a sobering exhibition and for me one that I am glad to of spent time with, once again I am left with the feeling of just how lucky I am to be in the situation I am in both back in the U.K. and here. Next time I watch Platoon, Full Metal Jacket or Apocolypse Now all of which I think are well made films I will be on the look out to see just how much of it relates to the things I saw in the Museum.