Today Dan has asked I start today's blog and considering it was a day spent at the war museum I'm not sure I should be honoured or not or it's just the fact he was so eager to go and get another Viet massage! ? So here goes.
Well if u come to Saigon the war museum really is a must, even for the less interested. It is a huge building which was used by the southern army and has an adjourning building which is a model of the actual prison used for Vietnamise that were suspected of not supporting the South ie vietcong of North Viet' sympathisers. Dan saw the photos shown of the tortures in it so will tell u later. The museum is impressive and is surrounded by an array of tanks helicopters and various US vehicles used in the war.
The museum I thought would have the usual relics of guns uniform etc but instead it is used to give the story of the war using photographs. These photos are from the cameras of photographers sent by agencies with war correspondents to report the war including the U.S but as correspondents said "the photographers were the brave ones!" 134 photographers from various countries went 72 never returned.
The photos that hang on the walls are from the photographers that were killed so in part is a homage to them. The films found in the cameras that lay on their dead bodies killed in action. That's not the only disturbing bit as the photos they took are sometimes awful! I won't go into detail but it's heartbreaking and its impossible to not get upset at the images shown. The photos all represent the US army in battle and also shots of the people they tortured and not just the opposing army but innocent civilians, women , children and babies.
It's pretty tough to look at just a few but there are over 200 photos mostly black and white until colour in late 60s. They are distressing but gives u an understanding why the US aggressive tactics were so wrong and was concluded as being an illegal war.
This museum is not just dedicated to the photographers who died for their passion for photography and were able to capture the images of war but also to show photos of the impact of the chemical genocide,' agent orange 'and the effects it had after. Many photos show present day children still affected some not surviving very long with appalling defects... We have seen people around the city living with some of the non fatal effects, which are not pretty but brings the realisation this all happened not long ago.
By the way, the US companies which supplied the untested and illegal chemical to the US army have had to compensate for this costing 1.52 million a year but only paid to US veterans not the Vietnamise . No US army officials behind the orders to use the chemicals have ever been prosecuted!
After, we went to the Renufication Palace. This is where the president of the south had his headquarters until 1975 when overtaken by the VC and then had to surrender. With tanks bulldozing through the gates he had little choice!
So quite a day so far.... Need a drink after that!!
Off to see more of Saigon tonight as leave tomorrow
Bex has said it all really. Learnt n saw loads over last 2 days which have given me a real understanding of how the war progressed. We spent over 5 hrs in the museum n believe me its worth it. The South Vietnamise prison which was known to the US was basically a torture chamber as bad as any stories or movies you've seen about the VC inflicting on the US marines.
I'm glad I'm not an American as walking around this would make you pretty ashamed n wonder how your government could have made such a foolish decision to commit forces here....the reason was for control of a strategically well located country n fear of communist expansion. The chemical weapons there is no excuse.
Anyway, the people here are fantastic n now on way out to drink a few Pina Coladas with them!!
Oh, in case you're wondering about the massage....YES, it was great!