Visiting the War Remnants Museum
- The War Remnants Museum is the most visited in Vietnam.
- It is considered by some observers as Anti-American propaganda, but it has improved its tone promoting a two-sizes version of history.
- The Agent Orange room and the homage to reporters of the war from different sizes and ideologies are impressive.
Surely you have watched all the movies about Vietnamese War by Rambo:
Rambo has grown of course and all those movies are “history”. Now he is doing better productions with a more humanistic view of two side stories. But his movies represented the last efforts to justify a war that was lost not by the US alone, but to everybody on earth.
To understand what the last Indochina War meant, it is enough to visit the War Remnants Museum, District 3, Saigon. The Museum is focused on war crimes caused to the Vietnamese people. It is probably one-side of the story, but for decades our only source of information about the conflict in the West was provided by Hollywood. I don’t think the Museum intends to read all the history, however. A war is not an event that can be placed inside a square. It needs more than research and objectivity, but this Museum is a good starting point.
The Museum is made of different themed rooms including the military equipment used during the conflict, tortures, testimonies, Agent Orange and other chemical, maps and the photography coverage of several reporters, many of them killed or disappeared.
With the fragments of a bomb, Nguyen Hoang Huy created this sculpture he called “Mother”. During the war 3 million Vietnamese were killed, among them 2 million were civilians, including pregnant women.
This is a prove of the intention to present both sizes of the war. It is about many journalists that covered the tragic events and many of them lost their lives in their intention. Here Sam Castan (1935 – 1966).
The legends says:
“Sam Castan died fighting. He was a civilian journalist who became a warrior in the last minutes of his life – leading a small desperate group of American soldiers out of a trap, saving their lives, losing his own. He had joined the story he came to cover and the story ennobled him.”
You can know more about Castan in this blog, The Trad.
Another homage to a reporter of the war, Japanese Taizo Ichinose (1947 – 1973). He has to see much with Cambodia, because Khmer Rouge guerrilla killed him on November 29, 1973 when he tried to reach Angkor. He was only 26.
The inscriptions reads:
“Hamlets and villages of farmers becoming battle fields is a great characteristic in the US war in Vietnam. 80 percent of the Vietnamese people are farmers. In the US attacks, shelling and bombings have killed more people than soldiers. There were about 3 million people killed, 4 million people wounded in the recent war. The war also left them homeless and forced them to flee their native villages.”
There are many impressive photographs in the Museum like the prisoners, many of them victims of torture and execution. For many observers, it is Anti-American propaganda, probably for the way many legends are written. However, my impression is that the tone is changing and there are many points where you can feel there is consideration for the former enemies as well.
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Have you being in the War Remnants Museum? What is your opinion about?