This morning I took a domestic flight from Da Nang, in Central Vietnam, to Ho Chi Minh City, or how they like to call it here in the South, Saigon. I went to visit the War Remnants Museum. And I saw the horror.
The museum has a vaste photography collection from very important photographers of that time, like Robert Cappa (who died reporting this war killed by a mine). Some tanks, helicopters, bazookas and clothes are also exhibed. But the photographic journey is what really catched my eye.
From a wall full of pictures from demonstrations all around the world against America and its dirty methods of combat, to an “orange room”, where terrible portraits of people affected by the orange toxic agent are shown. Sometimes I had to close my eyes, other times cover the gesture of disgust of my face, and most of the times just moved my head from left to right, in an uncontrollable reaction my body experimented for not understanding how all I had in front of me was allowed.
I have seen the famous picture of “The girl of the Napalm”, taken by Nick Ut for AP in Trang Bang in June 8, 1972, that shows Phan This Kim Phuc at nine years of age running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back by a South Vietnamese attack.
But there were hundreds of not so famous stories, maybe even more dramatic than that; stories that even now continue to occur. The effects of the war are still present in people being born with deformities and illnesses and mines left behind still kill every year hundreds of people. It will take a long time to this country (if at all possible) to fully recover from a horrible war that is killing people still nowadays.
I left the museum disgusted, sad, not wanting to believe what I saw. There are no words to describe such a sick behaviour of the human being.