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And how many histories of the American War written by Vietnamese do you know?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 3rd, 2018 at 03:20:48 PM EST
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None.

I am not fluent in Vietnamese. And even if I could find volumes of English translation, I wouldn't read them. It's not a topic in its particulars that interests me. The "Conflict" --as my eminently offended parents reminded us back in the day-- is barely History. The stories to tell are still memoirs, which is to say, in my mind, abject and belated explanations for ones's part dressing a naked genocidal project this way or that.

When I was a child I watched news of The Conflict on the evening news delivered by Cronkite, Huntley, and Brinkley. Mr Lt. Calley's trial was a topic in my "social studies" class. About the same time, for different reasons, we were given a project to present our family histories. I, by comparison to the many purported descendants of Mayflower settlers, little to offer to the grand scheme. My daughter informs me that the narrative of personal mementos scattered around the National Museum of African American History leaves the same impression.

I have spent a little time though in Ho Chi Minh City twenty years or so ago. The city was teeming with youth and poverty. I was startled that my guide could find no war memorials of the "American War". I was startled to learn that "Yo!" is a toast to good health. This all gave me pause for thoughts about symbols signifying tribute or triumph. If I'd ever made it to Hanoi or crawled through the tunnels, I might have today a different perspective on the history of the Vietnamese peoples, but I doubt it. I've learned my lesson.

So in my dotage I amuse myself reading "revisions" as black history of the world's civilizations comes to light.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Sep 3rd, 2018 at 08:02:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
File in Epithets of Historical Events Around the World/Hegemons/Organizational Hygiene/Failure

In May 1998, the mainstream press of Western Europe and North America announced the death of a man by the name Pol Pot. This man was said to have caused the death of more than two million people in Cambodia--a small country in Southeast Asia bordered by Vietnam and Thailand. Pol Pot was said to have committed this "crime against humanity" between 1975 and 1978 when he was in power in Cambodia. Journalists, newspaper editorialists and political commentators in Nigeria, including those who had never before heard of Cambodia, proceeded from this Western announcement to condemn Pol Pot and regret that the "monster" died just as he was about to be handed over, not to the government of his country, but to the United States of America, to be tried for his heinous crimes.

In all this expression of righteous indignation the Western press did not tell us, and the Nigerian press did not ask, what sustained Pol Pot in the jungle of that small country for 20 years, from the time of his removal from power in 1978 to his death in 1998. We were not told how Pol Pot came to power in the first place and how and by whom he was removed from power. We were not told how Pol Pot managed to kill more than two million of his country men and women. Did he run amuck slaughtering them in the manner of Rwanda? Did he march them into gas chambers in the manner of Adolf Hitler? Did he simply starve them to death?

If we have been told all this, we probably would still have condemned Pol Pot, but we would at least have known that the man came to power in the Second Indo-China War, that is, the war in the third quarter of the 20th century between the peoples' liberation forces of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, on the one hand, and American forces on the other; that, in that war, American forces killed, through bombing and starvation, more than two million Cambodians; that American governments sustained Pol Pot for 20 years after he was overthrown by the Vietnamese in a border war; and finally that those in power in Cambodia today, through the help of American government, were all collaborators of Pol Pot.

Happy Black History Y3 D252

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Sep 9th, 2018 at 03:43:58 PM EST
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