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Postcard from the End of America: Fort Indiantown Gap, PA
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Giang in Fort Indiantown Gap, 2016
Giang in Fort Indiantown Gap, 2016

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It’s remarkable that I’ve been friends with Giang for nearly four decades. We’ve spent but a year in the same state and, frankly, have little in common. Giang studied computer science, business administration and engineering technology. He makes more in a year than I do in ten. He drinks Bud Lite and recycles corny metaphors and analogies. A director of marketing, Giang actually told me, “I can sell a freezer to an Eskimo.”

Driving from California last week, Giang stayed at my sweltering apartment for two nights. Since he had never been to Philly, I took Giang to a decent cheesesteak joint, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Having spaced out in history classes, Giang had forgotten that Philly was the nation’s first capital and the War of Independence was against the Brits. No matter, Giang got snapshots of himself in front of the iconic sights.

I also showed Giang the Italian Market, Little Cambodia, Kensington, Penn’s Landing, South Street, Dirty Frank’s and Friendly Lounge. In Little Cambodia, we saw kebabs and other delicacies sold on the streets and in a park. It was too hot for volleyball. On a sidewalk, young and old tried to toss bean bags into a hole in a plywood board. We admired the exterior of a brightly painted Buddhist temple. Just like Vietnamese, Cambodians are often mischaracterized as “war refugees” although they have fled from the Communist peace.

What my friend really wanted to see was Fort Indiantown Gap. In 1975, Giang stayed there as an 11-year-old refugee. The same age, I was at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas.

It was good to get out of the city. The Pennsylvania landscape featured nothing dramatic. On Horseshoe Pike, we spotted a concrete chicken on a roof, some Amish clothesline, “trump / trump / trump” scrawled on the back of a highway sign, and that’s about it. Since Giang got the Amish and Hasidic Jews confused, I untangled for him their contrasting hair convictions, hat beliefs, horse notions and electricity theologies.

In 1975, the ride from Harrisburg Airport astounded the refugees. I translate an online account by one Hà Giang:

Each length of road took us further from everything we had left behind, and a step closer to our awaiting future, which to us at the time was extremely vague and unsettled. Our tenuous happiness was mixed with worries.

Though exhausted, no one could doze off because we had just slipped into a new world, as far as language, sceneries, sounds, colors, even the air, fragrances, everything around us was new, everything was different.

I strained to etch on my mind the first images of this country where I had just landed.

The wide road unfurling behind us, the novel one-story houses, way too wide compared to Vietnamese ones, though too low in height. I saw very few with tiles, and absolutely none with tin roofs.

Also, the houses here did not share walls but were comfortably situated on private plots of land, with their entrances not near sidewalks but receding way back behind lusciously green, square-angled lawns. Between one house and another there was no fence, only bushes sometimes, or absolutely no barrier at all, though looking closely, one could see that the grass color of one house was slightly different from another’s.

Such a long road, yet there was no human shadow, so that we had to wait forever to see one old man leisurely sweep a few leaves.

Oh what peace! Peace and serenity were my first impressions of the United States of America.

Pennsylvania was so different from bustling Saigon, crowded Saigon, chaotic Saigon, my Saigon already so distant. Oh Saigon, where are you now? And my parents, my friends, what are you doing there now?

Lost in thoughts, I didn’t even know the bus had turned onto a road leading to the main gates of Fort Indiantown Gap.

Another refugee writes that his time in the camp was “the most magical” of his life, such was his relief of escaping from Communism. By mid June of 1975, there were 14,900 Vietnamese in Fort Indiantown Gap, and this transient community even had its own bilingual daily newspaper, Đất Lành/Good Land. (“Benign” is actually a better translation for “Lành.”) Vietnamese are big on newspapers. Wartime Saigon had about ten dailies at any time.

In spite of wartime censorship, massive propaganda, exorbitant taxing of newspapers and, occasionally, even imprisonment of journalists, South Vietnamese had access to a wider range of political opinions than Americans today. They also had many more political parties. There’s a saying, “Any two Vietnamese form a political party. Any three, a party and a faction.” No puppets or savages, Vietnamese took politics deadly seriously, because it was. In the end, though, they were just pawns of geopolitical schemers and war profiteers, same as the American soldiers who were sent over there.

Reviewing Apocalypse Now Redux for the Guardian, I point out how Coppola has scrubbed both spoken and written Vietnamese from a film he preposterously claims is not just about Vietnam, but “is Vietnam.”

Yours truly, “In Apocalypse Now, Vietnam is more or less one continuous jungle, with corpses casually dangling from trees, and arrows and spears flying out of the foliage. The arrow attack scene is lifted straight from Heart of Darkness, where a black river boat pilot is impaled by a spear […] As anyone who has been there will tell you, Vietnam is (and was during the war) grossly overpopulated. Rivers and roads are lined with settlements. The US, by comparison, is more wild. Another thing a visitor to Vietnam can readily see is the ubiquity of the written language—that is, of civilization. Signs and banners are everywhere. None of this is apparent in any of the panoramic shots of Apocalypse Now. Coppola hasn’t just withheld speech from the Vietnamese, he has also banned them from writing.”

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Arriving in Indiantown Gap, Giang and I found the fort to be nearly deserted, with soldiers visible at only one building. As we browsed the rows of empty two-storied barracks, Giang blurted, “I’m getting emotional, man. I was here 41 years ago, and so was my future wife.” They’re divorced.

Giang wore a T-shirt, “Someone in Pennsylvania Love Me.” He had had 50 custom-made, one for each state. Thirty of them are grammatical, but the rest are missing an “s.” The native-born printer screwed up. Whenever Giang crosses a new state, he has his picture taken below the welcome sign. Not just methodical, my friend is anal.

Right outside the fort was an old timey restaurant, Funck’s, so that’s where we went for breakfast. An electrical sign flashed a waving flag, then “GOD BLESS THE USA.” By the cash register, there was a carousel with laminated signs of patriotic, inspirational or loving messages for sale. The clientele were mostly wholesome looking families or soldiers in desert cammies. Perusing the menu, I learnt that “Honkey Eggs” had green peppers, onions and home fries mixed with two eggs and toast ($6.99). I searched for scrapple, found it then declared to the cheerful waitress, “This guy is from California and he’s never tried scrapple!” A scrapple faithful, I proselytize it at every chance.

As we waited for our food, Giang went to a convenience store next door and, chatting away, met a woman in her 60’s who had worked at the fort in 1975. After they hugged and took a photo, Giang invited Brenda to join us for breakfast. Since she couldn’t leave her shift, Giang bought her a Funck’s gift card as a token of thanks “for helping the Vietnamese.”

Steelton is 25 miles from Fort Indiantown Gap. In 2013, I met a man there who had been a guard at the refugee camp, “People were saying shit like, ‘These people killed my brother, they killed my father, and now you’re bringing them here.’ I was right there, I saw it, but things have changed, you know. Now you have all these Vietnamese businesses around here, all these restaurants.” Jackson was a black Vietnam vet who had done two tours.

The complexity of the Vietnam War is embodied by Phan Thi Kim Phuc. History knows her as a nine-year-old victim of a napalm strike. Since the weapon was American, and the pilot South Vietnamese, Kim Phuc became a perfect symbol to the Vietnamese Communists because she seemingly vindicated them. Studying medicine in Cuba, Kim Phuc married another Vietnamese student, and they were allowed to honeymoon in Moscow. During the trip back to Havana, the couple deplaned in New Foundland and asked Canada for political asylum. Here’s a clear victim of an American bomb rejecting Communism to live in the West. There is absolutely no contradiction except to those who see the world in the most simplistic terms. Raised in a Godless state, Kim Phuc is also a devout Christian.

During the last Democratic National Convention, I saw many Bernie Sanders fans march around with red flags. Carrying a red flag and pumping his fist, a young man stood precariously on top of a seven-foot-tall chess piece. He was a pawn on top of a pawn. It is remarkable that Communism is still hip despite decades of unprecedented barbarity, much cultural heritage destroyed and millions of innocents imprisoned or killed. Across the West, it is distasteful to bring up Communist crimes, yet those by Nazis are relentlessly amplified. Holocaust museums and memorials greatly outnumber those devoted to the horrors of a movement to which Jews have contributed so greatly.

The US allied itself with Stalin, then fought Communism. It propped up Saddam Hussein, then murdered him. After bombing Hanoi, it now sells weapons to the same regime. In front of a huge Ho Chi Minh bust, Bush, Clinton and Obama beamed. Freedom fighters will be redefined as terrorists, or vice versa. When it comes to geopolitics, there is no ideological consistency. Only war is constant, and the flow of refugees.

Debating, voting or protesting, we are no more in charge of our destinies than the South Vietnamese.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Immigration, Vietnam War 
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  1. Vinnie says:

    Well, gee, wow. I moved to Mechanicsburg in 1974 when a Navy office at Great Lakes was consolidated with SPCC. Since I was in the Illinois National Guard, I also transferred to the Pennsylvania National Guard. Indiantown Gap is, and always was, a STATE National Guard installation. The American Army has some tiny block of offices on base. Everything else is owned by the State of Pennsylvania. I know this because the American Army attempted to close Indiantown Gap in the first round of base closings, only to be told by the State that the American Army could leave whenever they wished, but the State had no intention of closing THEIR base.

    I can remember spending a weekend drill at Indiantown Gap and noticing that the block of barracks down the road was surrounded by barbed wire. Someone told me those were the refugee barracks. I wasn’t sure why we needed to make the residence of our ALLIES look like a prison, but then I’ve never really understood the Army.

    After the refugees moved out into the civilian towns, we Nasty Guard guys got to use the renovated refugee barracks. They were AMAZINGLY better than the barracks we normally used. Most of the buildings had been constructed during WW2 and NEVER renovated.

    I live in Virginia now, but South Central Pennsylvania is the NICEST place I’ve ever lived.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Damn, dude, then you haven't lived in many nice places.
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  2. woodNfish says:

    Too bad your friend didn’t want to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation – two of the finest art museums in the country.

    Coppola hasn’t just withheld speech from the Vietnamese, he has also banned them from writing.

    Expecting the truth out of Hollywood is a fool’s goal.

    Across the West, it is distasteful to bring up Communist crimes, yet those by Nazis are relentlessly amplified.

    The only difference between a commie and a nazi is the name.

    (Vietnamese) were just pawns of geopolitical schemers and war profiteers, same as the American soldiers who were sent over there.

    What amazes me is the number of vets who were drafted and celebrate their “service” by waiving the flag. Indoctrination and propaganda are obviously very strong. They were slaves of the state and forced to fight an illegal and unconstitutional war that had nothing to do with defending the US.

    Read More
    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    Exactly. We need a Museum of Communism - how many million deaths and ruined lives ? From the 19 c through the 20th, marx, cultural Marxism, ussr, the ghastly effete Hobsbawm ... and the cult in waiting today ...
    , @Marcus
    Dinh surely knows more than I, but I remember hearing that the beginning of Ho Chi Minh's political career was when the Treaty of Versailles didn't live up to Wilson's rhetoric of self-determination. He saw communism as the means to an end (independence) more than anything.
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  3. Another great piece. I do not always share the world view of the people to whom you give voice but you capture their thoughts and dreams better than any one else I’ve yet read. They are all my fellow citizens and they deserve to be heard far more than the politicians, the MSM, the “entertainers”, the academics, the bankers and stockbrokers, and all the other swine currently ruling over and oppressing the rest of us.

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  4. i assume the nine-year-old victim of the napalm attack was none other than the young girl running naked down the road in terror, whose image was published in the american media. the iconic picture was on the cover of time or newsweek or life magazine. the images of the viet nam war were regularly presented on tv – as were body counts.
    not anymore.
    with the exception of the made-for-tv shock & awe in iraq, networks will not show images of the wars, most especially not the victims, proving media silence can also be propaganda.
    the video of a stunned, soot-covered, bloodied 3-year-old syrian boy was supposed to be a victim of the assad regime. well maybe. but where are the pictures of the children america has bloodied?
    reportage & images turned americans away from the war in viet nam.
    now msm media is captive to the military. u.s. citizens must never see war up close. we might be horrified and disgusted. we might object loudly, as happen during viet nam.
    now, like an orwell novel, forever war is a fact of life.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi Lawrence Fitton,

    I actually got her name wrong! It's Kim Phúc, not Kim Cúc. Sometimes, it's the stuff you think you know so well that you get slightly wrong. When I told my wife about this article, she said, "It's Kim Phúc, not Kim Cúc!" Anyway, I just asked Ron to make the corrections.

    Here's an interview of this woman:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoKVmBPH0xo


    Linh
    , @Linh Dinh
    Hi Lawrence Fitton,

    I wrote to Ron that perhaps there was some subconscious editing on my part. I have friends named Phúc or Phước, and they say people would sometimes pronounce their name as, what else, "fuck"!

    Phúc or Phước is derived from the Chinese 福 and means "great fortune." Kim is derived from the Chinese 金 and means "gold."

    Naming their daughter Kim Phúc [Golden Fortune], her parents wanted her to have great fortune and wealth.

    "Cúc," the name I mistakenly gave her, merely means "chrysanthemum."


    Linh
    , @another fred

    reportage & images turned americans away from the war in viet nam.
     
    For me, about '68, it was the witness of a returning veteran in the days before Johnson had fully escalated the war, a guy I knew and whose word I trusted. I can't say I was "against" the war, I did not protest, I just realized the futility. I also remember a protest by classmates in Tucson in the spring of '66 that got "rained out" - lots of conviction there.

    In my experience it was not the price that turned people against the war, it was the lack of of gain.

    Our "leaders" learned that lesson, that's why we have a volunteer military today. Now the volunteers are learning.

    There are many things worth fighting for, few of them are outside our borders.
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  5. @Vinnie
    Well, gee, wow. I moved to Mechanicsburg in 1974 when a Navy office at Great Lakes was consolidated with SPCC. Since I was in the Illinois National Guard, I also transferred to the Pennsylvania National Guard. Indiantown Gap is, and always was, a STATE National Guard installation. The American Army has some tiny block of offices on base. Everything else is owned by the State of Pennsylvania. I know this because the American Army attempted to close Indiantown Gap in the first round of base closings, only to be told by the State that the American Army could leave whenever they wished, but the State had no intention of closing THEIR base.

    I can remember spending a weekend drill at Indiantown Gap and noticing that the block of barracks down the road was surrounded by barbed wire. Someone told me those were the refugee barracks. I wasn't sure why we needed to make the residence of our ALLIES look like a prison, but then I've never really understood the Army.

    After the refugees moved out into the civilian towns, we Nasty Guard guys got to use the renovated refugee barracks. They were AMAZINGLY better than the barracks we normally used. Most of the buildings had been constructed during WW2 and NEVER renovated.

    I live in Virginia now, but South Central Pennsylvania is the NICEST place I've ever lived.

    Damn, dude, then you haven’t lived in many nice places.

    Read More
    • Replies: @artichoke
    You don't understand. It's not the luxury, it's the people. And the landscape isn't bad either.
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  6. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Lawrence Fitton
    i assume the nine-year-old victim of the napalm attack was none other than the young girl running naked down the road in terror, whose image was published in the american media. the iconic picture was on the cover of time or newsweek or life magazine. the images of the viet nam war were regularly presented on tv - as were body counts.
    not anymore.
    with the exception of the made-for-tv shock & awe in iraq, networks will not show images of the wars, most especially not the victims, proving media silence can also be propaganda.
    the video of a stunned, soot-covered, bloodied 3-year-old syrian boy was supposed to be a victim of the assad regime. well maybe. but where are the pictures of the children america has bloodied?
    reportage & images turned americans away from the war in viet nam.
    now msm media is captive to the military. u.s. citizens must never see war up close. we might be horrified and disgusted. we might object loudly, as happen during viet nam.
    now, like an orwell novel, forever war is a fact of life.

    Hi Lawrence Fitton,

    I actually got her name wrong! It’s Kim Phúc, not Kim Cúc. Sometimes, it’s the stuff you think you know so well that you get slightly wrong. When I told my wife about this article, she said, “It’s Kim Phúc, not Kim Cúc!” Anyway, I just asked Ron to make the corrections.

    Here’s an interview of this woman:

    Linh

    Read More
    • Replies: @Whoever
    Thanks for posting this video. My mother helped care for Phan Thi Kim Phuc as well as many others at the Barsky Unit in Saigon when she was a volunteer with Children's Medical Relief International, which she joined after her service as an Army nurse.
    Here is a photo of Kim undergoing early treatment. Note that her left arm, which in the video she says she rubbed trying to get the napalm off, is completely swathed in bandages.
    http://i.imgur.com/DjjO7xn.jpg
    Here's another photo after she has had some time to recover. You can see how terribly scarred her left arm is. The nurse is a Miss Hong. I don't know who the boy is, but I have photos of his surgery,too. He was even more badly injured than Kim Phuc but no one took a famous picture of him so he just faded away into the anonymous crowd of war victims.
    http://i.imgur.com/pABCeLe.jpg
    [forgot to crop this scan, sorry (^_^) ]
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  7. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Lawrence Fitton
    i assume the nine-year-old victim of the napalm attack was none other than the young girl running naked down the road in terror, whose image was published in the american media. the iconic picture was on the cover of time or newsweek or life magazine. the images of the viet nam war were regularly presented on tv - as were body counts.
    not anymore.
    with the exception of the made-for-tv shock & awe in iraq, networks will not show images of the wars, most especially not the victims, proving media silence can also be propaganda.
    the video of a stunned, soot-covered, bloodied 3-year-old syrian boy was supposed to be a victim of the assad regime. well maybe. but where are the pictures of the children america has bloodied?
    reportage & images turned americans away from the war in viet nam.
    now msm media is captive to the military. u.s. citizens must never see war up close. we might be horrified and disgusted. we might object loudly, as happen during viet nam.
    now, like an orwell novel, forever war is a fact of life.

    Hi Lawrence Fitton,

    I wrote to Ron that perhaps there was some subconscious editing on my part. I have friends named Phúc or Phước, and they say people would sometimes pronounce their name as, what else, “fuck”!

    Phúc or Phước is derived from the Chinese 福 and means “great fortune.” Kim is derived from the Chinese 金 and means “gold.”

    Naming their daughter Kim Phúc [Golden Fortune], her parents wanted her to have great fortune and wealth.

    “Cúc,” the name I mistakenly gave her, merely means “chrysanthemum.”

    Linh

    Read More
    • Replies: @landlubber

    friends named Phúc
     
    So how the Phúc is it pronounced? I thought "phở" was pronounced like "fu(ck)".
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  8. Johann says:

    Linh, I enjoy your insights into the real world. They are a vast improvement on the crap that the American Media delivers usually through the personage of a perky sorority girl who never knew how tough life is for the majority of mankind. It is good to be able to read incisive epiphanies of the ghost world that envelops us; especially the exposure of the perpetual war government that is celebrated by the muricans.

    Read More
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  9. Debating, voting or protesting, we are no more in charge of our destinies than the South Vietnamese.

    True.

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  10. Thirty of them are grammatical, but the rest are missing an “s.”

    The ones missing an “s” are grammatical (and meaningful) if you wear them in a red-light district while traveling. The others, though, have meaning only when you wear them in your home state, just as an “I Left My Heart in SF” shirt makes sense only outside of SF.

    Next time Giang should stick with “I ♥ PA”.

    Read More
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  11. “Holocaust museums and memorials greatly outnumber those devoted to the horrors of a movement to which Jews have contributed so greatly.”

    Ooh, tut…tut…must not mention such a thing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Your courage in writing the above also struck me. And also the elegance with which you expressed it.
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  12. @Lawrence Fitton
    i assume the nine-year-old victim of the napalm attack was none other than the young girl running naked down the road in terror, whose image was published in the american media. the iconic picture was on the cover of time or newsweek or life magazine. the images of the viet nam war were regularly presented on tv - as were body counts.
    not anymore.
    with the exception of the made-for-tv shock & awe in iraq, networks will not show images of the wars, most especially not the victims, proving media silence can also be propaganda.
    the video of a stunned, soot-covered, bloodied 3-year-old syrian boy was supposed to be a victim of the assad regime. well maybe. but where are the pictures of the children america has bloodied?
    reportage & images turned americans away from the war in viet nam.
    now msm media is captive to the military. u.s. citizens must never see war up close. we might be horrified and disgusted. we might object loudly, as happen during viet nam.
    now, like an orwell novel, forever war is a fact of life.

    reportage & images turned americans away from the war in viet nam.

    For me, about ’68, it was the witness of a returning veteran in the days before Johnson had fully escalated the war, a guy I knew and whose word I trusted. I can’t say I was “against” the war, I did not protest, I just realized the futility. I also remember a protest by classmates in Tucson in the spring of ’66 that got “rained out” – lots of conviction there.

    In my experience it was not the price that turned people against the war, it was the lack of of gain.

    Our “leaders” learned that lesson, that’s why we have a volunteer military today. Now the volunteers are learning.

    There are many things worth fighting for, few of them are outside our borders.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Heymrguda
    Like you, I was also opposed to the war but had little or no common ground with the counterculture and new left students protesting it. Attended a couple of "anti war rallies" that were more of celebration of left wing causes, the war was almost an afterthought. Did not go to any more.
    I've always thought the student left prolonged that war rather than shortening it -- I observed many people support it simply to oppose the excesses of the student left -- rationality went out the window.
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  13. @Linh Dinh
    Hi Lawrence Fitton,

    I wrote to Ron that perhaps there was some subconscious editing on my part. I have friends named Phúc or Phước, and they say people would sometimes pronounce their name as, what else, "fuck"!

    Phúc or Phước is derived from the Chinese 福 and means "great fortune." Kim is derived from the Chinese 金 and means "gold."

    Naming their daughter Kim Phúc [Golden Fortune], her parents wanted her to have great fortune and wealth.

    "Cúc," the name I mistakenly gave her, merely means "chrysanthemum."


    Linh

    friends named Phúc

    So how the Phúc is it pronounced? I thought “phở” was pronounced like “fu(ck)”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    "Fook."

    "Phở" is more like "Fur," but with the vowel sound dragging out and sinking.
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  14. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @landlubber

    friends named Phúc
     
    So how the Phúc is it pronounced? I thought "phở" was pronounced like "fu(ck)".

    “Fook.”

    “Phở” is more like “Fur,” but with the vowel sound dragging out and sinking.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    “Look.”

    You mustn't pronounce it like that in Manchester.
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  15. utu says:

    I watched Apocalypse Now several times and never saw it as a movie about Vietnam or Vietnam War. The war was just the pretext to film Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi utu,

    There's an excellent TV movie, Green Eyes, that was filmed in Saigon during the war, but not shown until 1977. That's the only American made film that shows a Saigon I recognize.

    Cyclo by the Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung is a portrait of Saigon around the year 2000.


    Linh

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  16. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @utu
    I watched Apocalypse Now several times and never saw it as a movie about Vietnam or Vietnam War. The war was just the pretext to film Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

    Hi utu,

    There’s an excellent TV movie, Green Eyes, that was filmed in Saigon during the war, but not shown until 1977. That’s the only American made film that shows a Saigon I recognize.

    Cyclo by the Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung is a portrait of Saigon around the year 2000.

    Linh

    Read More
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  17. Pontius says:

    Interesting to note she deplaned in Newfoundland. The airport in Gander, which was built by the US military in WWII, was a common place for Soviet bloc defectors to make their break. Being so far east, it was the first international airport available for Aeroflot flights to refuel at. It must have been especially galling to the Russians when this happened, as surely the people involved were some of the more trustworthy types to be allowed to travel internationally. My parents once saw Fidel Castro lounging in a private area. They waved, he waved back. Improvements in fuel economy and geopolitics brought and end to all that.

    Gander was also the airport which received so many stranded Americans on 9-11, and was the site of a terrible air crash in 1985 which killed many members of the 101st Airborne division.

    Read More
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  18. unit472 says:

    It is telling how a few iconic images come to define a war. Vietnam is, to most Americans, a study of three pictures. Kim Phuc’s agony. A South Vietnamese police officer executing a captured Viet Cong and helicopters taking off from the roof of the US Embassy.

    A litany of failure and brutality and yet…40 years on what war couldn’t achieve time has. All the fighting to keep Vietnam out of the orbit of the USSR and China was simply an effort by politicians of that era to make history conform to their timetable when, if they had done nothing, events would have turned out the same. Vietnamese nationalism would never have allowed the nation to become a Chinese or Soviet puppet state.

    I guess the lesson is you have to pick your fights carefully. Rather than defeat international communism the Vietnam war almost caused the US to disintegrate.

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  19. fitzGetty says:
    @woodNfish
    Too bad your friend didn't want to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation - two of the finest art museums in the country.

    Coppola hasn’t just withheld speech from the Vietnamese, he has also banned them from writing.
     
    Expecting the truth out of Hollywood is a fool's goal.

    Across the West, it is distasteful to bring up Communist crimes, yet those by Nazis are relentlessly amplified.
     
    The only difference between a commie and a nazi is the name.

    (Vietnamese) were just pawns of geopolitical schemers and war profiteers, same as the American soldiers who were sent over there.
     
    What amazes me is the number of vets who were drafted and celebrate their "service" by waiving the flag. Indoctrination and propaganda are obviously very strong. They were slaves of the state and forced to fight an illegal and unconstitutional war that had nothing to do with defending the US.

    Exactly. We need a Museum of Communism – how many million deaths and ruined lives ? From the 19 c through the 20th, marx, cultural Marxism, ussr, the ghastly effete Hobsbawm … and the cult in waiting today …

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alden
    I agree. When I'm home, I live near the Museum of Tolerance Holocaust Museum.

    It's actually a Hate The Evil White Goyim museum. It's got all sorts of security gates to get in. This is to convince the donors that the Nazi KKK are ready to storm the place. The place is huge, like 5 stories and half a block looming over a neighborhood of one and 2 story White stucco stores and small businesses.
    For a while, Tim Wise ran his operation out of that building.
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  20. Debating, voting or protesting, we are no more in charge of our destinies than the South Vietnamese.

    I believe, my friend, those are words of wisdom.

    Another fine piece!

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  21. Having spent 9-years service in PARNG, (1970-1979), including annual Fort Indiantown Gap “Summer Camps,” I share something in common with Giang. Aware Giang might read the comments to the “Postcard,” I hope he might read (below) and take time to recollect and perhaps issue a response.

    In 1975, Giang indicated being housed at Fort Indiantown Gap as an 11-year old refugee. At that time, I was employed as a Teamster dockworker at Roadway Express, Tannersville, PA. At the time, this dock was among the largest such operations in the entire northeast U.S., and of course, during months prior to Christmas Shopping Madness, the dock became so busy and overloaded with freight, Roadway Express’s “Call Board” became exhausted, and management only had a handful of workers to handle a literal Pocono mountain of freight.

    Giang — I regret not recalling the exact year, but the following event must have happened during Autumn 1975 to Autumn 1978. I know it’s a bit difficult, but best as possible, I shall convey the oddity I had experienced.

    Standing upon the Roadway Express dock with a very nice (irreverent) foreman nicknamed “Philly Dog,” we both chuckled at the fact of so much freight and nobody around to do the work. Suddenly, while looking east into the docks large jockey yard, we watched as a school bus parked and began to discharge about 50 Asian men who were immediately marched onto the dock!

    Soon, a Roadway Express T.O.M. approached Philly Dog & I, and assigned approximately 15 of the men to begin stacking freight “high & tight” into R.E.X. tractor trailers! Most of them spoke pretty good English, better than mine (?), but poor Philly Dog had the supervisory “challenge” of his lifetime. As the T.O.M. commanded Philly Dog to “get their asses moving,” the latter had to explain (in detail) exactly which freight goes into which trailer, et al, and both Philly and I felt very sad that the conscripts had to lift freight which often weighed MORE than they did!

    In order to help keep the T.O.M. off Philly’s back, I tried to work harder and helped the new guys when I could. Inevitably, the freight volume showed very little sign of reducing, and the mean spirited T.O.M. approached Philly Dog, and reamed his ass.

    Philly Dog (pissed off): “Oh, I’d need a bus load of Tarzans!” And tell me please, where the fuck did Roadway get these poor guys?”

    The T.O.M.: “Okay, I’ll give you the short version… they’re Vietnamese, came from Fort Indiantown Gap, and they’ll work for a lot less dough than smart ass Chuck Orloski gets!”

    Philly Dog: “How the hell did Roadway pull off getting refugees from The Gap? Did some corporate guy out of Akron have some pull with The Army brass?

    The T.O.M.: “None of your business, Phil! Just get these yellow fuckers moving freight, and do your job!”

    To this day, Giang, the weird incident stays with me. I understand you were very young at the time, but have you ever heard anything about fellow refugees leaving The Gap for temp work? Thank you very much!

    Chuck Orloski
    Taylor, PA

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  22. dearieme says:
    @Linh Dinh
    "Fook."

    "Phở" is more like "Fur," but with the vowel sound dragging out and sinking.

    “Look.”

    You mustn’t pronounce it like that in Manchester.

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  23. Heymrguda says:
    @another fred

    reportage & images turned americans away from the war in viet nam.
     
    For me, about '68, it was the witness of a returning veteran in the days before Johnson had fully escalated the war, a guy I knew and whose word I trusted. I can't say I was "against" the war, I did not protest, I just realized the futility. I also remember a protest by classmates in Tucson in the spring of '66 that got "rained out" - lots of conviction there.

    In my experience it was not the price that turned people against the war, it was the lack of of gain.

    Our "leaders" learned that lesson, that's why we have a volunteer military today. Now the volunteers are learning.

    There are many things worth fighting for, few of them are outside our borders.

    Like you, I was also opposed to the war but had little or no common ground with the counterculture and new left students protesting it. Attended a couple of “anti war rallies” that were more of celebration of left wing causes, the war was almost an afterthought. Did not go to any more.
    I’ve always thought the student left prolonged that war rather than shortening it — I observed many people support it simply to oppose the excesses of the student left — rationality went out the window.

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  24. Outwest says:

    It seems odd that there was so much opposition to Viet Nam and so little to our present adventures. You have to give the Communists credit, they could sell and organize anything.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    "It seems odd that there was so much opposition to Viet Nam and so little to our present adventures." - To put it simply: Vietnam war was not in the interest of Israel.
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  25. Marcus says:

    Have you read about what happened with the Marielitos who came several years after the Vietnamese to Ft Chaffee? Nearly ended Clinton’s political career https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/11/17/the-forgotten-story-of-how-refugees-almost-ended-bill-clintons-career/

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  26. Marcus says:
    @woodNfish
    Too bad your friend didn't want to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation - two of the finest art museums in the country.

    Coppola hasn’t just withheld speech from the Vietnamese, he has also banned them from writing.
     
    Expecting the truth out of Hollywood is a fool's goal.

    Across the West, it is distasteful to bring up Communist crimes, yet those by Nazis are relentlessly amplified.
     
    The only difference between a commie and a nazi is the name.

    (Vietnamese) were just pawns of geopolitical schemers and war profiteers, same as the American soldiers who were sent over there.
     
    What amazes me is the number of vets who were drafted and celebrate their "service" by waiving the flag. Indoctrination and propaganda are obviously very strong. They were slaves of the state and forced to fight an illegal and unconstitutional war that had nothing to do with defending the US.

    Dinh surely knows more than I, but I remember hearing that the beginning of Ho Chi Minh’s political career was when the Treaty of Versailles didn’t live up to Wilson’s rhetoric of self-determination. He saw communism as the means to an end (independence) more than anything.

    Read More
    • Replies: @woodNfish
    Dinh came here when he was a kid. He doesn't know anymore about politics than your typical amerikan. He does have the more unique experience of being a refugee. But statistically, refugees do very poorly in their new havens.
    , @Linh Dinh
    Hi Marcus,

    Here are three key books on Vietnamese Communism:

    Hoang Van Chi's From Colonialism to Communism: A Case History of North Vietnam.

    Douglas Pike's History of Vietnamese Communism, 1925-1976.

    Nguyen Van Canh's Vietnam Under Communism, 1975–1982.

    Only the last is still in print, unfortunately, though you can certainly get the first two (at least on loan) from any decent library.


    Linh

    , @Linh Dinh
    Hi Marcus,

    The Poet Laureate of North Vietnam was Tố Hữu. I translate his 1953 ode to Stalin :

    Stalin! Stalin!

    A mother showed to her child
    A picture of Stalin with a young child
    His shirt is white against red clouds
    His eyes are kind, his mouth smiling

    On an immense green field
    He stands with a little child
    Wearing a red scarf round his neck
    Towards the future they both look

    Stalin! Stalin!
    How I loved my child's first word
    When he said the word Stalin!
    The milky fragance of a baby's mouth
    Is like the dove of peace and a limpid moon

    Yesterday the field speaker blared
    Tore my stomach to shreds
    O how the village convulsed
    O how can it be… He's dead!
    O Stalin! O Stalin!

    Without you, are there still sky and earth?
    The love for my father, mother, wife
    The love for myself are but one tenth
    Of my love for you
    The love for my child, country, race
    Can't be greater than my love for you

    Before there was only barren desolation
    Thanks to you there's brightness and joy
    Before only torn clothes and hunger
    Thanks to you our rice pots are full

    Before only torment and shackles
    Thanks to you we have days of freedom
    When people have land to till
    When independence comes tomorrow
    Who will we remember with gratitude?

    This gratitude I'll bear on my shoulders
    One side for Uncle Ho, one for you
    My child, you're still so clueless
    But you'll learn to thank Stalin for life

    Loving you a mother vowed in silence
    To love village, country, husband, child
    Although you have disappeared, gone
    Your crimson footsteps are forever

    Today on the village road at dawn
    Incense smoke curled up everywhere
    A thousand in mourning white, joined
    In wrenching eternal remembrance of you.

    Much superior artists to Tố Hữu, most notably Picasso and Neruda, have tainted themselves by paying homage to a man responsible for 20 to 60 million deaths. Even Albert Einstein refused to condemn Stalin’s murder of political prisoners, stating, “The Russians have proved that their only aim is really the improvement of the lot of the Russian people.”

    Not all major intellectuals got it wrong, of course. During WWII, when the dictator was an ally of Roosevelt and Churchill, an important American poet did declare, “Stalin’s regime considers humanity as nothing save raw material. Deliver so many carloads of human material at the consumption point. That is the logical result of materialism. If you assert that men are dirty, that humanity is merely material, that is where you come out. And the old Georgian train robber is perfectly logical. If all things are merely material, man is material–and the system of anti-man treats man as matter”–Ezra Pound.

    What Pound got wrong have been amply broadcast, but Pound got a lot right.

    Spending decades writing obsequious and bloodthirsty poetry, Tố Hữu was also very dangerous as a high-ranking Party member. He wrecked many lives. Near death in 2002, he circulated a farewell poem. I translate:

    To my most beloved friend in life
    A few lines of verse and a bit of ash
    Poetry for life, ash for the soil
    In life I give, in death I also give.

    The Vietnamese word for “give” is “cho.” Add a rising diacritic, however, and “cho” becomes “chó,” meaning “dog.” In oral circulation, the last line of Tố Hữu’s poem has been converted to:


    In life I was a dog, in death a dog.

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  27. woodNfish says:
    @Marcus
    Dinh surely knows more than I, but I remember hearing that the beginning of Ho Chi Minh's political career was when the Treaty of Versailles didn't live up to Wilson's rhetoric of self-determination. He saw communism as the means to an end (independence) more than anything.

    Dinh came here when he was a kid. He doesn’t know anymore about politics than your typical amerikan. He does have the more unique experience of being a refugee. But statistically, refugees do very poorly in their new havens.

    Read More
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  28. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Marcus
    Dinh surely knows more than I, but I remember hearing that the beginning of Ho Chi Minh's political career was when the Treaty of Versailles didn't live up to Wilson's rhetoric of self-determination. He saw communism as the means to an end (independence) more than anything.

    Hi Marcus,

    Here are three key books on Vietnamese Communism:

    Hoang Van Chi’s From Colonialism to Communism: A Case History of North Vietnam.

    Douglas Pike’s History of Vietnamese Communism, 1925-1976.

    Nguyen Van Canh’s Vietnam Under Communism, 1975–1982.

    Only the last is still in print, unfortunately, though you can certainly get the first two (at least on loan) from any decent library.

    Linh

    Read More
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  29. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Marcus
    Dinh surely knows more than I, but I remember hearing that the beginning of Ho Chi Minh's political career was when the Treaty of Versailles didn't live up to Wilson's rhetoric of self-determination. He saw communism as the means to an end (independence) more than anything.

    Hi Marcus,

    The Poet Laureate of North Vietnam was Tố Hữu. I translate his 1953 ode to Stalin :

    Stalin! Stalin!

    A mother showed to her child
    A picture of Stalin with a young child
    His shirt is white against red clouds
    His eyes are kind, his mouth smiling

    On an immense green field
    He stands with a little child
    Wearing a red scarf round his neck
    Towards the future they both look

    Stalin! Stalin!
    How I loved my child’s first word
    When he said the word Stalin!
    The milky fragance of a baby’s mouth
    Is like the dove of peace and a limpid moon

    Yesterday the field speaker blared
    Tore my stomach to shreds
    O how the village convulsed
    O how can it be… He’s dead!
    O Stalin! O Stalin!

    Without you, are there still sky and earth?
    The love for my father, mother, wife
    The love for myself are but one tenth
    Of my love for you
    The love for my child, country, race
    Can’t be greater than my love for you

    Before there was only barren desolation
    Thanks to you there’s brightness and joy
    Before only torn clothes and hunger
    Thanks to you our rice pots are full

    Before only torment and shackles
    Thanks to you we have days of freedom
    When people have land to till
    When independence comes tomorrow
    Who will we remember with gratitude?

    This gratitude I’ll bear on my shoulders
    One side for Uncle Ho, one for you
    My child, you’re still so clueless
    But you’ll learn to thank Stalin for life

    Loving you a mother vowed in silence
    To love village, country, husband, child
    Although you have disappeared, gone
    Your crimson footsteps are forever

    Today on the village road at dawn
    Incense smoke curled up everywhere
    A thousand in mourning white, joined
    In wrenching eternal remembrance of you.

    Much superior artists to Tố Hữu, most notably Picasso and Neruda, have tainted themselves by paying homage to a man responsible for 20 to 60 million deaths. Even Albert Einstein refused to condemn Stalin’s murder of political prisoners, stating, “The Russians have proved that their only aim is really the improvement of the lot of the Russian people.”

    Not all major intellectuals got it wrong, of course. During WWII, when the dictator was an ally of Roosevelt and Churchill, an important American poet did declare, “Stalin’s regime considers humanity as nothing save raw material. Deliver so many carloads of human material at the consumption point. That is the logical result of materialism. If you assert that men are dirty, that humanity is merely material, that is where you come out. And the old Georgian train robber is perfectly logical. If all things are merely material, man is material–and the system of anti-man treats man as matter”–Ezra Pound.

    What Pound got wrong have been amply broadcast, but Pound got a lot right.

    Spending decades writing obsequious and bloodthirsty poetry, Tố Hữu was also very dangerous as a high-ranking Party member. He wrecked many lives. Near death in 2002, he circulated a farewell poem. I translate:

    To my most beloved friend in life
    A few lines of verse and a bit of ash
    Poetry for life, ash for the soil
    In life I give, in death I also give.

    The Vietnamese word for “give” is “cho.” Add a rising diacritic, however, and “cho” becomes “chó,” meaning “dog.” In oral circulation, the last line of Tố Hữu’s poem has been converted to:

    In life I was a dog, in death a dog.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Carlton Meyer
    Mr. Dinh,

    I have never been to Vietnam, but as a former Marine who served in Asia, I liked Oliver Stone's 1993 film "Heaven and Earth".

    What did you think of that movie?
    , @Marcus
    Thanks, btw have you been to south Lousiana? There's a substantial Vietnamese (and lately other Indochinese) population there. I guess it reminded them of home in some ways, and many were/are indeed involved in the seafood business. I can't say much bad about then other than that they are extremely niggardly and some of the younger men become petty criminals (think of Gran Torino).
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  30. @Linh Dinh
    Hi Marcus,

    The Poet Laureate of North Vietnam was Tố Hữu. I translate his 1953 ode to Stalin :

    Stalin! Stalin!

    A mother showed to her child
    A picture of Stalin with a young child
    His shirt is white against red clouds
    His eyes are kind, his mouth smiling

    On an immense green field
    He stands with a little child
    Wearing a red scarf round his neck
    Towards the future they both look

    Stalin! Stalin!
    How I loved my child's first word
    When he said the word Stalin!
    The milky fragance of a baby's mouth
    Is like the dove of peace and a limpid moon

    Yesterday the field speaker blared
    Tore my stomach to shreds
    O how the village convulsed
    O how can it be… He's dead!
    O Stalin! O Stalin!

    Without you, are there still sky and earth?
    The love for my father, mother, wife
    The love for myself are but one tenth
    Of my love for you
    The love for my child, country, race
    Can't be greater than my love for you

    Before there was only barren desolation
    Thanks to you there's brightness and joy
    Before only torn clothes and hunger
    Thanks to you our rice pots are full

    Before only torment and shackles
    Thanks to you we have days of freedom
    When people have land to till
    When independence comes tomorrow
    Who will we remember with gratitude?

    This gratitude I'll bear on my shoulders
    One side for Uncle Ho, one for you
    My child, you're still so clueless
    But you'll learn to thank Stalin for life

    Loving you a mother vowed in silence
    To love village, country, husband, child
    Although you have disappeared, gone
    Your crimson footsteps are forever

    Today on the village road at dawn
    Incense smoke curled up everywhere
    A thousand in mourning white, joined
    In wrenching eternal remembrance of you.

    Much superior artists to Tố Hữu, most notably Picasso and Neruda, have tainted themselves by paying homage to a man responsible for 20 to 60 million deaths. Even Albert Einstein refused to condemn Stalin’s murder of political prisoners, stating, “The Russians have proved that their only aim is really the improvement of the lot of the Russian people.”

    Not all major intellectuals got it wrong, of course. During WWII, when the dictator was an ally of Roosevelt and Churchill, an important American poet did declare, “Stalin’s regime considers humanity as nothing save raw material. Deliver so many carloads of human material at the consumption point. That is the logical result of materialism. If you assert that men are dirty, that humanity is merely material, that is where you come out. And the old Georgian train robber is perfectly logical. If all things are merely material, man is material–and the system of anti-man treats man as matter”–Ezra Pound.

    What Pound got wrong have been amply broadcast, but Pound got a lot right.

    Spending decades writing obsequious and bloodthirsty poetry, Tố Hữu was also very dangerous as a high-ranking Party member. He wrecked many lives. Near death in 2002, he circulated a farewell poem. I translate:

    To my most beloved friend in life
    A few lines of verse and a bit of ash
    Poetry for life, ash for the soil
    In life I give, in death I also give.

    The Vietnamese word for “give” is “cho.” Add a rising diacritic, however, and “cho” becomes “chó,” meaning “dog.” In oral circulation, the last line of Tố Hữu’s poem has been converted to:


    In life I was a dog, in death a dog.

    Mr. Dinh,

    I have never been to Vietnam, but as a former Marine who served in Asia, I liked Oliver Stone’s 1993 film “Heaven and Earth”.

    What did you think of that movie?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi Carlton,

    It is telling that there's a Wikipedia entry for the film in Danish, Norwegian, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Malay, Arabic, English, Russian and Chinese, but no Vietnamese. It's not as if Vietnamese aren't interested in Oliver Stone, because there's a Vietnamese Wikipedia entry for Platoon and even JFK.

    I saw Heaven and Earth shortly after it came out and thought it overly dramatic. I haven't read the book, but perhaps it is just as hysterical. Although filmed in Thailand, the Saigon scenes are pretty convincing, and Stone actually made the countryside of central Vietnam (where Le Ly's village is) much more beautiful than in real life. Those dramatic limestone cliffs don't exist in that region.

    My mother and half brother were in Thailand at the time and got cast as extras in the movie. My half brother appears at the end, in the homecoming scenes. Tom Nam Ly is even credited.


    Linh
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  31. What Pound got wrong have been amply broadcast, but Pound got a lot right.

    Yes, he did, and it’s tragic that most ‘Merkins never heard of him. Of course, he was smeared as a crazy crank.

    Read More
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  32. There was a stretch of the Berlin Wall still standing along which some agency had erected a memorial describing the atrocities committed by the Nazis before and during the war. Not a single word about the DDR.

    I was once taken on a tour of the former East Berlin, and upon reaching the old Congress Hall, already quite decrepit but still discernable as having been horribly ugly in its best of days, an official who knew I was a banker asked if I knew anyone who might donate money to help tear it down. She was surprised to hear that I would gladly find money to build a protective bubble over it so it could continue to provide a stark reminder of life in the DDR.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi Alarmist,

    Last year, I visited the Stasi Museum in Leipzig and posted three photos of it on my blog. Immediately, two Stalinist freaks jumped in to denounce me as a cheerleader for American imperialism!

    Similar freaks have hounded me over the years, and it's no good to reason with them. I've pointed out my objection to all abuses of state power. I've said that they're welcome to yearn for and live in a Communist state, but just leave me and billions of others out of it. I've asked why does such an atrocious solution, one that has killed millions, still have any credibility? I've said that surely humanity is not so lacking in imagination that it'd want to revert to this colossal failure. It doesn't matter what I say, though. For pointing out the obvious, that Communism is evil, I'm branded a defender of American war crimes.

    When I asked one Stalinist freak to read (or reread) Orwell's Animal Farm, he said he didn't trust Orwell because Orwell had gone to Eton. He also said Communism is "the best hope for the world's downtrodden." Since the man was in his 50's, you can't blame youth for such idiocy.

    A different Stalinist freak called 1984 a pornographic novel.


    Linh

    , @utu
    "stark reminder of life in the DDR." - The chief reason that they want us to forget is because the life in DDR was not really that bad.
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  33. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Carlton Meyer
    Mr. Dinh,

    I have never been to Vietnam, but as a former Marine who served in Asia, I liked Oliver Stone's 1993 film "Heaven and Earth".

    What did you think of that movie?

    Hi Carlton,

    It is telling that there’s a Wikipedia entry for the film in Danish, Norwegian, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Malay, Arabic, English, Russian and Chinese, but no Vietnamese. It’s not as if Vietnamese aren’t interested in Oliver Stone, because there’s a Vietnamese Wikipedia entry for Platoon and even JFK.

    I saw Heaven and Earth shortly after it came out and thought it overly dramatic. I haven’t read the book, but perhaps it is just as hysterical. Although filmed in Thailand, the Saigon scenes are pretty convincing, and Stone actually made the countryside of central Vietnam (where Le Ly’s village is) much more beautiful than in real life. Those dramatic limestone cliffs don’t exist in that region.

    My mother and half brother were in Thailand at the time and got cast as extras in the movie. My half brother appears at the end, in the homecoming scenes. Tom Nam Ly is even credited.

    Linh

    Read More
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  34. “Only war is constant, and the flow of refugees.”

    Yes: the American Oligarchs learned early on that war is immensely profitable. Hence, we have been in a perpetual state of war virtually since WWI. General Smedley Butler saw it as early as World War I and wrote a book about it entitled “War is a Racket”.

    Read More
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  35. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @The Alarmist
    There was a stretch of the Berlin Wall still standing along which some agency had erected a memorial describing the atrocities committed by the Nazis before and during the war. Not a single word about the DDR.

    I was once taken on a tour of the former East Berlin, and upon reaching the old Congress Hall, already quite decrepit but still discernable as having been horribly ugly in its best of days, an official who knew I was a banker asked if I knew anyone who might donate money to help tear it down. She was surprised to hear that I would gladly find money to build a protective bubble over it so it could continue to provide a stark reminder of life in the DDR.

    Hi Alarmist,

    Last year, I visited the Stasi Museum in Leipzig and posted three photos of it on my blog. Immediately, two Stalinist freaks jumped in to denounce me as a cheerleader for American imperialism!

    Similar freaks have hounded me over the years, and it’s no good to reason with them. I’ve pointed out my objection to all abuses of state power. I’ve said that they’re welcome to yearn for and live in a Communist state, but just leave me and billions of others out of it. I’ve asked why does such an atrocious solution, one that has killed millions, still have any credibility? I’ve said that surely humanity is not so lacking in imagination that it’d want to revert to this colossal failure. It doesn’t matter what I say, though. For pointing out the obvious, that Communism is evil, I’m branded a defender of American war crimes.

    When I asked one Stalinist freak to read (or reread) Orwell’s Animal Farm, he said he didn’t trust Orwell because Orwell had gone to Eton. He also said Communism is “the best hope for the world’s downtrodden.” Since the man was in his 50′s, you can’t blame youth for such idiocy.

    A different Stalinist freak called 1984 a pornographic novel.

    Linh

    Read More
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  36. utu says:
    @The Alarmist
    There was a stretch of the Berlin Wall still standing along which some agency had erected a memorial describing the atrocities committed by the Nazis before and during the war. Not a single word about the DDR.

    I was once taken on a tour of the former East Berlin, and upon reaching the old Congress Hall, already quite decrepit but still discernable as having been horribly ugly in its best of days, an official who knew I was a banker asked if I knew anyone who might donate money to help tear it down. She was surprised to hear that I would gladly find money to build a protective bubble over it so it could continue to provide a stark reminder of life in the DDR.

    “stark reminder of life in the DDR.” – The chief reason that they want us to forget is because the life in DDR was not really that bad.

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  37. utu says:
    @Outwest
    It seems odd that there was so much opposition to Viet Nam and so little to our present adventures. You have to give the Communists credit, they could sell and organize anything.

    “It seems odd that there was so much opposition to Viet Nam and so little to our present adventures.” – To put it simply: Vietnam war was not in the interest of Israel.

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  38. robt says:

    “Someone in Pennsylvania Love Me.”

    It could just be an expression of hope … so grammatically correct. (Though you could argue a comma or a hyphen could be placed after ‘Love’ – easily added with a permanent marker pen).
    He is divorced …
    Then again, maybe there is one person in each of the 50 states that does in fact already love him.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi robt,

    In 2012, I wrote about Giang hitting bottom in "Dire Train":

    a few days ago, I heard from my oldest friend, Giang, whom I’ve known since 1978, when we were both high school freshmen in San Jose. Like me, Giang was born in Vietnam and came here as a kid, but unlike my sorry ass, he managed to adjust, get along and move up in life. Giang acquired two college degrees, to my zero. Before he was thirty, he bought his first house, then two more, before selling one. He married a woman who was a registered nurse, and they have two well-behaved sons. It’s been a smooth ride until three years ago, when Giang was suddenly laid off. No problems, he thought, I’ll find another job soon enough, but after sending out hundreds of applications, he’s only gotten a handful of interviews, all unsuccessful. It’s an all-too-familiar story these days, played out across America, and like many unemployed Americans of all ages, much less one pushing fifty, Giang’s prospects for recovery are dismal.

    With nowhere to go each morning, Giang stewed at home and became a little too cranky, apparently. He’d yell at his kids, and sometimes argue with his wife. She’d made too many innuendos, he thought, about his fat ass lying on the couch. Always a nosy motormouth, his sister-in-law also rachetted up her poisonous babble behind his back, and his sanctimonious father-in-law started to show an attitude. The old man’s smiles tightened into smirks. In-laws are generally a nuisance, absolutely, best kept at least a dozen time zones away, but Vietnamese-in-laws should be corralled into a deep, core-of-the-earth cave steaming with sulfur. It’s their most congenial environment. When marrying a Vietnamese, it’s best to choose an orphan. Trust me.

    In any case, Giang’s wife finally left him ten months ago after a rather generic argument, and they haven’t talked face-to-face since. His in-laws and oldest son are also shunning him. “When you’re married for over twenty years, there are so many memories. You sleep with the same person each night. My family is everything to me, so I can’t believe it’s over. And it is essentially about the economy, like you’ve been saying all these years, you prick. You told me to buy gold when it was only $500 and I didn’t listen. Anyway, if I’ve been working, and bringing in a six-figure salary like I used to, none of this would have happened, and it’s not like we’re running out of money even, because we still have savings! But a guy is supposed to leave the house each morning and catch, you know, a deer, a pig or a raccoon, at least. Anything! That’s how it’s always been throughout history, so when you’re lying around the house all day, it gets old quick.”

    As we were talking on Skype, I could see my friend’s stocky form, and his receding hairline, lurking in an empty room. “Here I am still talking about we, we, we, but it’s just me now,” and he showed me a mattress on the floor, with a handful of magazines next to it.

    Hard working and without any fondness for gambling, narcotics or extracurricular nookies, just a Bud-Lite or two after work while sprawled in front of the TV as the Giants come on, Giang had no weird or outsized needs and he has always played by the rules, so he’s flabbergasted that his world is collapsing. Trying to move on, he dated a woman, broke up with her, then dated another. Neither felt right. So far, he’s paid the divorce lawyer $24,000. At court, he pleaded with his wife, “Let’s talk, we can work this out,” but she refused to even look at him. Despondent, he went to Home Depot and bought a sturdy rope, researched online about the proper knot, and the pitfalls of a botched attempt. Instead of being greeted by Uncle Ho, as us Vietnamese like to say, you may just end up with a snapped vertebrae, and bedridden for several decades.

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  39. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @robt
    “Someone in Pennsylvania Love Me.”

    It could just be an expression of hope ... so grammatically correct. (Though you could argue a comma or a hyphen could be placed after 'Love' - easily added with a permanent marker pen).
    He is divorced ...
    Then again, maybe there is one person in each of the 50 states that does in fact already love him.

    Hi robt,

    In 2012, I wrote about Giang hitting bottom in “Dire Train”:

    a few days ago, I heard from my oldest friend, Giang, whom I’ve known since 1978, when we were both high school freshmen in San Jose. Like me, Giang was born in Vietnam and came here as a kid, but unlike my sorry ass, he managed to adjust, get along and move up in life. Giang acquired two college degrees, to my zero. Before he was thirty, he bought his first house, then two more, before selling one. He married a woman who was a registered nurse, and they have two well-behaved sons. It’s been a smooth ride until three years ago, when Giang was suddenly laid off. No problems, he thought, I’ll find another job soon enough, but after sending out hundreds of applications, he’s only gotten a handful of interviews, all unsuccessful. It’s an all-too-familiar story these days, played out across America, and like many unemployed Americans of all ages, much less one pushing fifty, Giang’s prospects for recovery are dismal.

    With nowhere to go each morning, Giang stewed at home and became a little too cranky, apparently. He’d yell at his kids, and sometimes argue with his wife. She’d made too many innuendos, he thought, about his fat ass lying on the couch. Always a nosy motormouth, his sister-in-law also rachetted up her poisonous babble behind his back, and his sanctimonious father-in-law started to show an attitude. The old man’s smiles tightened into smirks. In-laws are generally a nuisance, absolutely, best kept at least a dozen time zones away, but Vietnamese-in-laws should be corralled into a deep, core-of-the-earth cave steaming with sulfur. It’s their most congenial environment. When marrying a Vietnamese, it’s best to choose an orphan. Trust me.

    In any case, Giang’s wife finally left him ten months ago after a rather generic argument, and they haven’t talked face-to-face since. His in-laws and oldest son are also shunning him. “When you’re married for over twenty years, there are so many memories. You sleep with the same person each night. My family is everything to me, so I can’t believe it’s over. And it is essentially about the economy, like you’ve been saying all these years, you prick. You told me to buy gold when it was only $500 and I didn’t listen. Anyway, if I’ve been working, and bringing in a six-figure salary like I used to, none of this would have happened, and it’s not like we’re running out of money even, because we still have savings! But a guy is supposed to leave the house each morning and catch, you know, a deer, a pig or a raccoon, at least. Anything! That’s how it’s always been throughout history, so when you’re lying around the house all day, it gets old quick.”

    As we were talking on Skype, I could see my friend’s stocky form, and his receding hairline, lurking in an empty room. “Here I am still talking about we, we, we, but it’s just me now,” and he showed me a mattress on the floor, with a handful of magazines next to it.

    Hard working and without any fondness for gambling, narcotics or extracurricular nookies, just a Bud-Lite or two after work while sprawled in front of the TV as the Giants come on, Giang had no weird or outsized needs and he has always played by the rules, so he’s flabbergasted that his world is collapsing. Trying to move on, he dated a woman, broke up with her, then dated another. Neither felt right. So far, he’s paid the divorce lawyer $24,000. At court, he pleaded with his wife, “Let’s talk, we can work this out,” but she refused to even look at him. Despondent, he went to Home Depot and bought a sturdy rope, researched online about the proper knot, and the pitfalls of a botched attempt. Instead of being greeted by Uncle Ho, as us Vietnamese like to say, you may just end up with a snapped vertebrae, and bedridden for several decades.

    Read More
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  40. Clyde says:

    Good but I wanted to hear Giang speak more. More words from him. He sounds like an interesting guy. How about more on his life story? Giang part two. We heard the life story of some of your Philly dive bar friends but not from Giang. Thanks.
    BTW never heard of a Viet named Giang.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi Clyde,

    This is the third time I've written about this man. (See comment above yours.) I also mention him in my Silicon Valley Postcard.


    Linh

    , @Clyde
    Thanks read them both. Good story from Giang about his rise and then his divorce.
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  41. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Clyde
    Good but I wanted to hear Giang speak more. More words from him. He sounds like an interesting guy. How about more on his life story? Giang part two. We heard the life story of some of your Philly dive bar friends but not from Giang. Thanks.
    BTW never heard of a Viet named Giang.

    Hi Clyde,

    This is the third time I’ve written about this man. (See comment above yours.) I also mention him in my Silicon Valley Postcard.

    Linh

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  42. Alden says:
    @fitzGetty
    Exactly. We need a Museum of Communism - how many million deaths and ruined lives ? From the 19 c through the 20th, marx, cultural Marxism, ussr, the ghastly effete Hobsbawm ... and the cult in waiting today ...

    I agree. When I’m home, I live near the Museum of Tolerance Holocaust Museum.

    It’s actually a Hate The Evil White Goyim museum. It’s got all sorts of security gates to get in. This is to convince the donors that the Nazi KKK are ready to storm the place. The place is huge, like 5 stories and half a block looming over a neighborhood of one and 2 story White stucco stores and small businesses.
    For a while, Tim Wise ran his operation out of that building.

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  43. Alden says:

    Coppola never denied he was making Heart of Darkness. Wasn’t the point of the book and movie that the Martin Sheen character was not in a city or farm area but lost in the jungle?

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  44. conatus says:

    Yeah I remember Indiantown Gap from 1975. I was there as part of then DC Guard cooking for the DC Youth Camp, a bunch of inner city kids they would bring out to the green woods with a couple of Washington Redskins thrown in for the draw. I lived in northeast DC at the time and was in the cooks, in the Hospital Unit down by RFK.
    I recall sitting, enveloped in the back seat of a big old Buick or something, the lone white face among five black ones and all the other guys are joking about me being there. “Ha ha what are we going to say if the Police stop us?How are we going to explain the white boy.Ha ha”
    Maybe I have been out in then green woods too long but to me it seems
    like Lou Reed says, “Those were different days.” The Media, the Government and the Professors had not had forty years to work their magic of division and make us so suspicious of each other we can hardly carry on a normal conversation.

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  45. Marcus says:
    @Linh Dinh
    Hi Marcus,

    The Poet Laureate of North Vietnam was Tố Hữu. I translate his 1953 ode to Stalin :

    Stalin! Stalin!

    A mother showed to her child
    A picture of Stalin with a young child
    His shirt is white against red clouds
    His eyes are kind, his mouth smiling

    On an immense green field
    He stands with a little child
    Wearing a red scarf round his neck
    Towards the future they both look

    Stalin! Stalin!
    How I loved my child's first word
    When he said the word Stalin!
    The milky fragance of a baby's mouth
    Is like the dove of peace and a limpid moon

    Yesterday the field speaker blared
    Tore my stomach to shreds
    O how the village convulsed
    O how can it be… He's dead!
    O Stalin! O Stalin!

    Without you, are there still sky and earth?
    The love for my father, mother, wife
    The love for myself are but one tenth
    Of my love for you
    The love for my child, country, race
    Can't be greater than my love for you

    Before there was only barren desolation
    Thanks to you there's brightness and joy
    Before only torn clothes and hunger
    Thanks to you our rice pots are full

    Before only torment and shackles
    Thanks to you we have days of freedom
    When people have land to till
    When independence comes tomorrow
    Who will we remember with gratitude?

    This gratitude I'll bear on my shoulders
    One side for Uncle Ho, one for you
    My child, you're still so clueless
    But you'll learn to thank Stalin for life

    Loving you a mother vowed in silence
    To love village, country, husband, child
    Although you have disappeared, gone
    Your crimson footsteps are forever

    Today on the village road at dawn
    Incense smoke curled up everywhere
    A thousand in mourning white, joined
    In wrenching eternal remembrance of you.

    Much superior artists to Tố Hữu, most notably Picasso and Neruda, have tainted themselves by paying homage to a man responsible for 20 to 60 million deaths. Even Albert Einstein refused to condemn Stalin’s murder of political prisoners, stating, “The Russians have proved that their only aim is really the improvement of the lot of the Russian people.”

    Not all major intellectuals got it wrong, of course. During WWII, when the dictator was an ally of Roosevelt and Churchill, an important American poet did declare, “Stalin’s regime considers humanity as nothing save raw material. Deliver so many carloads of human material at the consumption point. That is the logical result of materialism. If you assert that men are dirty, that humanity is merely material, that is where you come out. And the old Georgian train robber is perfectly logical. If all things are merely material, man is material–and the system of anti-man treats man as matter”–Ezra Pound.

    What Pound got wrong have been amply broadcast, but Pound got a lot right.

    Spending decades writing obsequious and bloodthirsty poetry, Tố Hữu was also very dangerous as a high-ranking Party member. He wrecked many lives. Near death in 2002, he circulated a farewell poem. I translate:

    To my most beloved friend in life
    A few lines of verse and a bit of ash
    Poetry for life, ash for the soil
    In life I give, in death I also give.

    The Vietnamese word for “give” is “cho.” Add a rising diacritic, however, and “cho” becomes “chó,” meaning “dog.” In oral circulation, the last line of Tố Hữu’s poem has been converted to:


    In life I was a dog, in death a dog.

    Thanks, btw have you been to south Lousiana? There’s a substantial Vietnamese (and lately other Indochinese) population there. I guess it reminded them of home in some ways, and many were/are indeed involved in the seafood business. I can’t say much bad about then other than that they are extremely niggardly and some of the younger men become petty criminals (think of Gran Torino).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi Marcus,

    In 1976, just a year after arriving in this country, I passed through New Orleans and some south Louisiana town on my way to Mobile. With my uncle, cousin and brother, I had a Vietnamese meal in someone's kitchen that was set up as a restaurant. I remember they were Catholics.

    As an adult, I've returned to New Orleans three times, but have not visited any other parts of Louisiana.

    In a New Orleans Postcard, I write mostly about my experience hanging out with a group of young squatters in the 8th Ward.

    New Orleans is one of my favorite American cities.


    Linh
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  46. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Marcus
    Thanks, btw have you been to south Lousiana? There's a substantial Vietnamese (and lately other Indochinese) population there. I guess it reminded them of home in some ways, and many were/are indeed involved in the seafood business. I can't say much bad about then other than that they are extremely niggardly and some of the younger men become petty criminals (think of Gran Torino).

    Hi Marcus,

    In 1976, just a year after arriving in this country, I passed through New Orleans and some south Louisiana town on my way to Mobile. With my uncle, cousin and brother, I had a Vietnamese meal in someone’s kitchen that was set up as a restaurant. I remember they were Catholics.

    As an adult, I’ve returned to New Orleans three times, but have not visited any other parts of Louisiana.

    In a New Orleans Postcard, I write mostly about my experience hanging out with a group of young squatters in the 8th Ward.

    New Orleans is one of my favorite American cities.

    Linh

    Read More
    • Replies: @Clyde
    Vietnamese like those hot coastal Southern cities. I was visiting a friend living in Savannah Georgia around 1990 and he told he was going to take me to see something that will surprise me. We drove a few miles to a housing project. Small vegetable gardens were planted everywhere, outside most apartments and the place looked neat and clean. He told me it was just about all Vietnamese immigrant families.
    Who had decided to make the best of their situation in America.
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  47. Whoever says:
    @Linh Dinh
    Hi Lawrence Fitton,

    I actually got her name wrong! It's Kim Phúc, not Kim Cúc. Sometimes, it's the stuff you think you know so well that you get slightly wrong. When I told my wife about this article, she said, "It's Kim Phúc, not Kim Cúc!" Anyway, I just asked Ron to make the corrections.

    Here's an interview of this woman:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoKVmBPH0xo


    Linh

    Thanks for posting this video. My mother helped care for Phan Thi Kim Phuc as well as many others at the Barsky Unit in Saigon when she was a volunteer with Children’s Medical Relief International, which she joined after her service as an Army nurse.
    Here is a photo of Kim undergoing early treatment. Note that her left arm, which in the video she says she rubbed trying to get the napalm off, is completely swathed in bandages.

    Here’s another photo after she has had some time to recover. You can see how terribly scarred her left arm is. The nurse is a Miss Hong. I don’t know who the boy is, but I have photos of his surgery,too. He was even more badly injured than Kim Phuc but no one took a famous picture of him so he just faded away into the anonymous crowd of war victims.

    [forgot to crop this scan, sorry (^_^) ]

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  48. gdpbull says:

    Forget war movies Mr. Dinh, unless you just watch them for entertainment. What’s shocking is that many people actually take war movies at face value and believe that’s how it really was. I was in the Vietnam war, and wince at any and all movies I’ve seen about that war, although I will have to admit i was not there when there were American ground troops. I was there during the NVA Easter Offensive in 1972 as a helicopter gunship pilot. Still, I saw enough of the country and war to know the movies are pure BS. My father was a WWII soldier and was in the battle of the bulge. He just shook his head and sometimes laughed any time a show or movie came on the television about WWII. He never went to a movie theater.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
    I agree. Anything that comes out of Hollywood is BS. It's been decades since I've seen anything they spew. Utter garbage and a huge waste of time.
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  49. Clyde says:
    @Clyde
    Good but I wanted to hear Giang speak more. More words from him. He sounds like an interesting guy. How about more on his life story? Giang part two. We heard the life story of some of your Philly dive bar friends but not from Giang. Thanks.
    BTW never heard of a Viet named Giang.

    Thanks read them both. Good story from Giang about his rise and then his divorce.

    Read More
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  50. Clyde says:
    @Linh Dinh
    Hi Marcus,

    In 1976, just a year after arriving in this country, I passed through New Orleans and some south Louisiana town on my way to Mobile. With my uncle, cousin and brother, I had a Vietnamese meal in someone's kitchen that was set up as a restaurant. I remember they were Catholics.

    As an adult, I've returned to New Orleans three times, but have not visited any other parts of Louisiana.

    In a New Orleans Postcard, I write mostly about my experience hanging out with a group of young squatters in the 8th Ward.

    New Orleans is one of my favorite American cities.


    Linh

    Vietnamese like those hot coastal Southern cities. I was visiting a friend living in Savannah Georgia around 1990 and he told he was going to take me to see something that will surprise me. We drove a few miles to a housing project. Small vegetable gardens were planted everywhere, outside most apartments and the place looked neat and clean. He told me it was just about all Vietnamese immigrant families.
    Who had decided to make the best of their situation in America.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "Vietnamese like those hot coastal Southern cities."

    Vietnam is an oven like all of Southeast Asia.
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  51. @gdpbull
    Forget war movies Mr. Dinh, unless you just watch them for entertainment. What's shocking is that many people actually take war movies at face value and believe that's how it really was. I was in the Vietnam war, and wince at any and all movies I've seen about that war, although I will have to admit i was not there when there were American ground troops. I was there during the NVA Easter Offensive in 1972 as a helicopter gunship pilot. Still, I saw enough of the country and war to know the movies are pure BS. My father was a WWII soldier and was in the battle of the bulge. He just shook his head and sometimes laughed any time a show or movie came on the television about WWII. He never went to a movie theater.

    I agree. Anything that comes out of Hollywood is BS. It’s been decades since I’ve seen anything they spew. Utter garbage and a huge waste of time.

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  52. Jefferson says:

    “Holocaust museums and memorials greatly outnumber those devoted to the horrors of a movement to which Jews have contributed so greatly”

    Your people the Asians make for way better Communists than the Jews. I don’t think Mao Zedong and Kim Jung Un had Bar Mitzvahs and spinned the dreidel.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    “Holocaust museums and memorials greatly outnumber those devoted to the horrors of a movement to which Jews have contributed so greatly”

    Your people the Asians make for way better Communists than the Jews. I don’t think Mao Zedong and Kim Jung Un had Bar Mitzvahs and spinned the dreidel.
     
    It's reasonably well-known that during the early decades of the 20th century, the average IQ scores of Italian-Americans was generally in the 70-75 range.

    Nowadays, those figures are regarded as being totally ridiculous and clear evidence of the extent to which cultural or other environmental factors that can artificially depress performance on IQ tests.

    But then I sometimes read the comments of our friend "Jefferson", and I really wonder...
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  53. Jefferson says:
    @Clyde
    Vietnamese like those hot coastal Southern cities. I was visiting a friend living in Savannah Georgia around 1990 and he told he was going to take me to see something that will surprise me. We drove a few miles to a housing project. Small vegetable gardens were planted everywhere, outside most apartments and the place looked neat and clean. He told me it was just about all Vietnamese immigrant families.
    Who had decided to make the best of their situation in America.

    “Vietnamese like those hot coastal Southern cities.”

    Vietnam is an oven like all of Southeast Asia.

    Read More
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  54. Ron Unz says:
    @Jefferson
    "Holocaust museums and memorials greatly outnumber those devoted to the horrors of a movement to which Jews have contributed so greatly"

    Your people the Asians make for way better Communists than the Jews. I don't think Mao Zedong and Kim Jung Un had Bar Mitzvahs and spinned the dreidel.

    “Holocaust museums and memorials greatly outnumber those devoted to the horrors of a movement to which Jews have contributed so greatly”

    Your people the Asians make for way better Communists than the Jews. I don’t think Mao Zedong and Kim Jung Un had Bar Mitzvahs and spinned the dreidel.

    It’s reasonably well-known that during the early decades of the 20th century, the average IQ scores of Italian-Americans was generally in the 70-75 range.

    Nowadays, those figures are regarded as being totally ridiculous and clear evidence of the extent to which cultural or other environmental factors that can artificially depress performance on IQ tests.

    But then I sometimes read the comments of our friend “Jefferson”, and I really wonder…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "But then I sometimes read the comments of our friend “Jefferson”, and I really wonder…

    Mao Zedong and Kim Jung Un are/were free market capitalists? Why is Israel not a communist nation like North Korea and China?

    , @artichoke
    I'd say China was pretty inept at communism. Mao started off as a perfectly legit military hero taking the country from, among others, the hated Japanese, up until the late 1940's. Then he got old and senile or something and the policies went absolutely berzerk. Cultural revolution was bad. Great Leap Forward was so bad it's funny unless you were there. Within a few years leaders arose that realized this was all garbage and ever since about 1980 China has been about the least communist place on earth.

    It seems more like a personality cult of Mao Zedong, and his successors are seen as national heroes for immediately repudiating it.

    North Korea is an odd little country, not enough to make broad conclusions about.

    Those Italian-Americans that scored 75, were they age-appropriately competent in English? They lived in racial ghettoes.
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  55. Jefferson says:
    @Ron Unz

    “Holocaust museums and memorials greatly outnumber those devoted to the horrors of a movement to which Jews have contributed so greatly”

    Your people the Asians make for way better Communists than the Jews. I don’t think Mao Zedong and Kim Jung Un had Bar Mitzvahs and spinned the dreidel.
     
    It's reasonably well-known that during the early decades of the 20th century, the average IQ scores of Italian-Americans was generally in the 70-75 range.

    Nowadays, those figures are regarded as being totally ridiculous and clear evidence of the extent to which cultural or other environmental factors that can artificially depress performance on IQ tests.

    But then I sometimes read the comments of our friend "Jefferson", and I really wonder...

    “But then I sometimes read the comments of our friend “Jefferson”, and I really wonder…

    Mao Zedong and Kim Jung Un are/were free market capitalists? Why is Israel not a communist nation like North Korea and China?

    Read More
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  56. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Connecticut Famer
    "Holocaust museums and memorials greatly outnumber those devoted to the horrors of a movement to which Jews have contributed so greatly."

    Ooh, tut...tut...must not mention such a thing.

    Your courage in writing the above also struck me. And also the elegance with which you expressed it.

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  57. artichoke says:
    @RadicalCenter
    Damn, dude, then you haven't lived in many nice places.

    You don’t understand. It’s not the luxury, it’s the people. And the landscape isn’t bad either.

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  58. artichoke says:
    @Ron Unz

    “Holocaust museums and memorials greatly outnumber those devoted to the horrors of a movement to which Jews have contributed so greatly”

    Your people the Asians make for way better Communists than the Jews. I don’t think Mao Zedong and Kim Jung Un had Bar Mitzvahs and spinned the dreidel.
     
    It's reasonably well-known that during the early decades of the 20th century, the average IQ scores of Italian-Americans was generally in the 70-75 range.

    Nowadays, those figures are regarded as being totally ridiculous and clear evidence of the extent to which cultural or other environmental factors that can artificially depress performance on IQ tests.

    But then I sometimes read the comments of our friend "Jefferson", and I really wonder...

    I’d say China was pretty inept at communism. Mao started off as a perfectly legit military hero taking the country from, among others, the hated Japanese, up until the late 1940′s. Then he got old and senile or something and the policies went absolutely berzerk. Cultural revolution was bad. Great Leap Forward was so bad it’s funny unless you were there. Within a few years leaders arose that realized this was all garbage and ever since about 1980 China has been about the least communist place on earth.

    It seems more like a personality cult of Mao Zedong, and his successors are seen as national heroes for immediately repudiating it.

    North Korea is an odd little country, not enough to make broad conclusions about.

    Those Italian-Americans that scored 75, were they age-appropriately competent in English? They lived in racial ghettoes.

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    • Replies: @artichoke
    Unlike China, Russia's evolutions of communism were more stable and successful, and it was an intentional revolution, albeit one that the Bolsheviks hijacked. Their system lasted for 60 years or so, and now some of the Russians remember it so fondly they went back to the old Soviet national anthem with a few words changed.
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  59. artichoke says:
    @artichoke
    I'd say China was pretty inept at communism. Mao started off as a perfectly legit military hero taking the country from, among others, the hated Japanese, up until the late 1940's. Then he got old and senile or something and the policies went absolutely berzerk. Cultural revolution was bad. Great Leap Forward was so bad it's funny unless you were there. Within a few years leaders arose that realized this was all garbage and ever since about 1980 China has been about the least communist place on earth.

    It seems more like a personality cult of Mao Zedong, and his successors are seen as national heroes for immediately repudiating it.

    North Korea is an odd little country, not enough to make broad conclusions about.

    Those Italian-Americans that scored 75, were they age-appropriately competent in English? They lived in racial ghettoes.

    Unlike China, Russia’s evolutions of communism were more stable and successful, and it was an intentional revolution, albeit one that the Bolsheviks hijacked. Their system lasted for 60 years or so, and now some of the Russians remember it so fondly they went back to the old Soviet national anthem with a few words changed.

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  60. Mr. Dinh, in that picture of your friend at the start of the article, why is the building with the steeple floating? Its on a black box and you can see the foundation underneath it…..

    Great work like usual, by the way. I enjoy reading of your adventures with common people that would otherwise never be known outside their immediate circles.

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  61. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi Delinquent Snail,

    You know, I didn’t even notice that when I was there. As we drove around, I suggested to Giang that we should head for the church steeple because I assumed it had to be the center. We were hoping to find the PX and the theater. The fort was very desolate. After I got home, I read online that many of the barracks had been torn down.

    And I’m very glad you like these profiles! Just two days ago, I found out that a man I wrote about just two months ago is dead. Don the Hunter was a very sweet, gregarious and honest man. It’s a shame. The last time we talked, Don said he’d look into going to Italy. He’d been to Mongolia and Korea but not Italy, his ancestral homeland.

    Linh

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    • Replies: @5371
    RIP
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  62. 5371 says:
    @Linh Dinh
    Hi Delinquent Snail,

    You know, I didn't even notice that when I was there. As we drove around, I suggested to Giang that we should head for the church steeple because I assumed it had to be the center. We were hoping to find the PX and the theater. The fort was very desolate. After I got home, I read online that many of the barracks had been torn down.

    And I'm very glad you like these profiles! Just two days ago, I found out that a man I wrote about just two months ago is dead. Don the Hunter was a very sweet, gregarious and honest man. It's a shame. The last time we talked, Don said he'd look into going to Italy. He'd been to Mongolia and Korea but not Italy, his ancestral homeland.


    Linh

    RIP

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  63. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Very interesting! Best wishes for your friend.

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