vietnam today

Dreamers Like Us

We watched two Kennedys and a King
assassinated right where they stood
oh what changes they would bring    
I guess the dream was just too good 

Still remembering the summer of love
I believe it was somewhere ‘round 68
Vietnam and two dreamers shot down
we all fell back asleep until Watergate

I’m afraid we break all that we touch
on the sanctuary leaving bloody stains
for dreamers like us it’s already too late
yet for you I hope enough time remains


March 16th 1968: My Lai Massacre

On this day in 1968, during the Vietnam War, between 350 and 500 Vietnamese villagers were massacred by American troops. The soldiers of the ‘Charlie’ Company killed and mutilated hundreds of unarmed civilians, many of whom were women and children. The massacre took place in the hamlets of My Lai and My Khe of Son My village, and was supposedly due to the belief that enemy soldiers were hiding in the area. The incident was initially downplayed by the army, with General Westmoreland congratulating the unit on their “outstanding job”. However, once the true nature of the horrific masacre was revealed, it sparked outrage both in the United States and around the world. The brutality of My Lai was a major factor in increasing domestic opposition to the Vietnam War, with mounting protests putting pressure on the government to end what many saw as a futile war. 26 US soldiers were charged for their involvement in the incident, but only one - William Calley - was convicted and found guilty. Calley was given a life sentence for killing 22 villagers, but only served 3 and a half years under house arrest; he made his first public apology in August 2009.


01/06/2017 Queen Máxima of the Netherlands  during the third and last day of her visit to Vietnam. She visited  the Bank of Vietnam today.

Queen Maxima was in Vietnam for an three day visit in her capacity as United Nation’s Secretary-Generals Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.

Photos: Patrick van Katwijk

By day and night they lived, ate, slept, marched together through the boring hours and the terrifying moments of war. When that bond was broken, by death in combat, it was traumatic. Look at the tears on the faces of middle-aged men standing before a particular panel of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial today, staring at one special name. They weep for someone who was closer than a brother, someone who helped them keep watch through the darkest nights, someone who may have stopped the bullet or the grenade that was meant for them. They weep for someone who was, for a few terrible months, the difference between life and death for them; someone who could never be replaced in their lives, and never was.
—  Joseph Galloway

March 25th 1969: ‘Bed-In for Peace’ begins

On this day in 1969, the newly married John Lennon and Yoko Oko began their first ‘bed-in’ to promote world peace during the Vietnam War at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. Lennon was one of the founding members of possibly the most successful band in history: the Beatles. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr achieved worldwide fame and critical acclaim for their music. Lennon was the man behind Beatles hits such as ‘All You Need is Love’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, and ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. After the band broke up in 1970, Lennon had a successful solo career, releasing iconic songs like ‘Imagine’ and ‘Instant Karma!’. In his later years Lennon, along with his second wife Yoko Ono, became peace activists, especially in their opposition to America’s involvement with the Vietnam War. The most famous expression of their activism came with the Amsterdam ‘bed-in’, and the couple remained in the bed until March 31st, allowing press into their presidential suite in order to publicise their efforts. John and Yoko’s second ‘bed-in’ took place in May in Montreal, where they and others recorded the song ‘Give Peace a Chance’. The ‘bed-in’ has since become an iconic moment in both Lennon’s life and the increasing opposition to America’s involvement in Vietnam, and has been commemorated and copied by later advocates of world peace.

23 years ago this afternoon, 33-year-old Gary Gordon (left) and 35-year-old Randy Shughart (right), both members of the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta, were providing air cover for Rangers in Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu when a fellow Blackhawk helicopter was shot down. Gordon requested to be landed at the crash site to provide cover for the crew, but was denied permission. Seeing the hostile Somali crowds converging on the downed Blackhawk, he pressed his request until finally granted permission. Gordon and Shughart, armed each with only his own rifle and pistol, were dropped off at the crash site, and found pilot Michael Durant alive. There they formed a perimeter around him hoping for rescue that never came. Both men exhausted their ammunition and were killed saving Durant, who was taken alive as prisoner. Both men were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first ones awarded for action since Vietnam. Remember them today.

S21, Killing Fields ផ្លូវជើងឯក & The Khmer Rouge.

Choeung Ek Genocidal Center , Phnom Penh, Cambodia.- ផ្លូវជើងឯក - Just the name sends a chill down my spine.

A humid Wednesday I took a trip to the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (Killing Fields) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This is without a doubt the most haunting place I have ever visited and one part of Cambodian history which should never be forgotten.

The Khmer Rouge regime ran from 1975 to 1979 and refers to the ruling of a man named Pol Pot, immediately after the end of the Cambodian civil war from 1970-1975 in which more than a million people were killed and buried by the regime.

Walking through these fields, you are given a headset and a tape player to listen to a guided tour. The tape makes water rush to the forefront of your eye, its incredibly sad to hear the stories of what went on here.  These holes in the ground were used as mass graves to pile up the deceased, whilst the tape rings in your ears the chilling sound of the eerie music mixed with the echo’s of loud engine noise used to drown out the screams of the murdered victims. In the 28degree heat, it made every hair on the back of my neck stand on cold,icy end.

Now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, S21 prison was initially built as a high school. The literal translation of Tuol Sleng is ‘Hill of the Poisonous Trees’ and it was here that as many as 20,000 prisoners were held and tortured. In 1975, they were killed here too, but by late 1976 it became more efficient to transfer them 15 km to the Choeung Ek killing fields.

Wires wrapped all surfaces and walls detaining the prisoners within. To walk the staircases and hallways of this school/prison is genuinely one of the eeriest things I have ever seen, walls covered in nail marks and stains. 

A frame once used by the school to hold gym equipment removed to be used as a frame to hang prisoners from by rope.

The Khmer Rouge’s legacy colors every aspect of life in Cambodia today. Before coming to power, Cambodia was far more developed than Thailand, Laos or Vietnam.  Today, Cambodia lags far behind the rest.

The immense suffering the Khmer people have endured makes me hold the upmost respect for them. They embrace what happened and look toward the future in happy, high spirits to make Cambodia the brighter place of today. 

Learning all about a places culture, past and its stories makes you thankful of your place in the world.

Visit this place, its chilling atmosphere leaves its presence.

At home, Binh Chanh District, suburb HCMC, Vietnam

Got my speaker today finally. 

As the people happened to be around me who I have the pleasure and as well the pain to annoy their course of baring with me, forced to know that I love music and how it’s the only saviour my whole life. From now on it’s going to be distinctive irritations. For sure it can’t top Apple’s HomePod (except for maybe the funny name) but for now I am good with my new and only lover. Can’t wait to take him to up coming travels and blissful solitude…


January 3rd 1901: Ngô Ðình Diệm born

On this day in 1901, the future South Vietnamese President Ngô Ðình Diệm was born in Quang Binh. Born to a staunchly Catholic noble family, his eminent ancestry secured him a spot in the imperial ministry. However, he left politics due to frustrations with French colonial rule, and went into self-imposed exile for many years, during which time he travelled to the United States. Diệm returned in 1954 to lead the government of the newly independent Vietnam, and, after defeating the emperor in a referendum in which his supporters intimidated voters, made himself the sole president of South Vietnam. He quickly established an autocratic rule, flouting requirements for free elections in 1956 and imprisoning dissenters. Diệm was fiercely opposed to the communist control of North Vietnam, and therefore received military and economic support from the United States, who feared the fall of Vietnam to communism would lead to a ‘domino effect’ in the region. The Catholic Diệm pursued an aggressive policy towards the Buddhist majority in South Vietnam, which led to a high level of protests in Vietnam and defections to communism. These protests included self-immolation by Buddhist monks, captured by Malcom Browne in one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century - the self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc. The United States withdrew their support for South Vietnam amid the protests, and, in November 1963, Diệm was assassinated in a military coup. In 1964, after the Tonkin Gulf Incident, the United States became fully engaged in the war effort against Ho Chi Minh’s communist forces, thus beginning America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Diệm was a major force in Vietnamese politics during the troubled years after independence, and his brutal suppression of his own people exacerbated the tensions which erupted in one of the major wars of the twentieth century.


The Soviet DP-28 Light Machine Gun,

First appearing in 1926, the Degtyaryov was the Soviet Union’s most common light machine gun, comparable in doctrine and usage to the American Browning Automatic Rifle, British Bren Gun, or Italian Breda 30.  Firing the 7.62x54mmR cartridge, it was invented by Vasily Degtyaryov and first appeared in the form of the DP-26, which was simplified for mass production purposes and adopted as the DP-28.  The DP-28 was known as a highly reliable machine gun, even going through a torture test where it was buried in sand, afterwards firing 500 rounds before jamming. Firing 550 rounds per minute, it also had few problems with overheating. 

While the gun itself was mechanically sound, the accessories that went with it were not.  The biggest complaint was that the bipod it was often equipped with was fragile and cheaply produced, commonly bending or breaking in battle.  In addition, its 47 round pan magazine was likewise fragile. Despite these flaws the DP-28 was an effective light machine gun.  Most importantly, they were very plentiful, with around 795,000 being produced, mostly during World War II.

The DP-28 was used in the Winter War against Finland, with many being captured and used by the Finnish Army.  After World War II it continued to be issued, supplemented by the RPD machine gun in the 1950’s, finally being phased out and replaced by the PK machine gun in the 1960’s.  Numerous thousands were also exported to com bloc nations.  Many were used in the Korean War and Vietnam.  Today, it is not uncommon for them to be found on modern battlefields in Ukraine, Syria, and parts of Africa.


August 2nd 1964: Gulf of Tonkin incident

On this day in 1964, North Vietnamese gunboats allegedly fired on American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. The incident was used by the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson to demonstrate the aggression of the North Vietnamese communists, and to justify an escalated US military presence in the country. In the wake of the incident, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Joint Resolution which authorised the President to intervene in Vietnam to counter “communist aggression”. Thus, Johnson was authorised - in what was essentially a blank cheque from Congress - to send troops into Vietnam to fight the communist North and aid the South; there was no formal declaration of war by Congress. It was later confirmed that the USS Maddox in fact fired first on the North Vietnamese, and that the incident was twisted for the purposes of the Johnson administration.

Secretary Clinton supported virtually every one of these disastrous trade agreements, written by corporate America. NAFTA, supported by the Secretary, cost us 800,000 jobs nation-wide, tens of thousands of jobs in the Midwest. […] I was on a picket-line in the early 1990s against NAFTA because you didn’t need a PhD in economics to understand that American workers should not be forced to compete against people in Mexico, making 25 cents an hour. And the reason that I was one of the first, not one of the last, to be in opposition to the TPP is that American workers should not be forced to compete against people in Vietnam today making a minimum wage of 65 cents an hour. Look, what we have gotta do is tell corporate America that they cannot continue to shut down. We’ve lost 60,000 factories since 2001. They’re going to start having to, if I’m President, invest in this country, not in China, not in Mexico.
—  Bernie Sanders
46 years ago today, the world lost one of the most inspirational figures we would ever know.

In an egregious act of violence, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated on the sixth of June, 1968. His life had known great tragedy, most famously, just 4 years prior, his brother, President John F. Kennedy, was killed, and just 2 months prior to his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. But Kennedy was a man of peace, he dedicated his life to love and compassion - rebuking the violence that plagued our nation, and for that matter, the world. He and his brother John stopped the Cold War of October 1962 from turning into a nuclear nightmare, he spoke out against the war in Vietnam, and most of all, he spoke to unify our fellow man, urging us to see each other as brothers and sisters, not foreigners and enemies. Bobby Kennedy looked to become the next President of the United States before he was killed, imagine what our world would be today if he had lived and become our president… No Nixon, no Watergate, a quicker end to Vietnam… Peace.

Today, let us remember a man who lives on every time there is a call to end violence, poverty, hunger, prejudice, oppression, greed… A man who lives on in the fight for equality and happiness. Rest in Peace Mr. Robert Francis Kennedy (Bobby), the world misses, and desperately needs your guidance.

“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”

- Robert F. Kennedy

March 8th 1970: Hard Hat Riot

On this day in 1970 construction workers in New York City attacked a group of protestors. The latter group, made up of around 1,000 students and others, were anti-war protestors moved to action by the shootings at Kent State University four days before which resulted in the deaths of four protestors. Around two hundred of the so-called ‘hard hats’, who supported President Nixon’s policy in Vietnam, took to the streets in a counter-protest. They were particularly incensed by the mayor’s decision to keep the City Hall flags at half mast in honour of the Kent State victims, a move they considered unpatriotic. Around seventy people were injured in the riot, but only six were arrested in the aftermath. President Nixon didn’t directly endorse the actions of the hard hats, but later was presented with a hard hat by a delegation of union leaders at the White House. The often-forgotten event is frequently buried in the narrative of this period of American history as a time of liberal protests. However the Hard Hat Riot reminds us that there was considerable conservative  opposition to these developments from people like these blue-collar New York workers.