Monday, 22 December 2003
Pix Of The Day: Chilling Vacation Destination
CREDIT: © Sue & Tony Wright/Wright-Photo.com
WHERE: My Lai hamlet, Vietnam. WHAT: site of 16 March 1968 war time atrocity.
MAP: Vietnam. Thumbnail clicks pop-up source pages with larger images.
Sue & Tony Wright author the Wright-Photo.com web site to document their wide ranging travels. Site visitors may usually select from links on maps of the countries visited: we wish more sites offered such intuitive navigation.
Trips to Greece & Turkey, and Myanmar (Burma) sit comfortably alongside a page about Seaham, on the County Durham coast of England. There are sailing pictures taken on the Wright's 32ft sloop 'Meriah' from Toronto to Newfoundland, and north up the Labrador coast as far as Cape Chidley, and a passage from Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Greenland. Far eastern Asia is represented by Bali, China, Thailand, and Vietnam.
We decided to visit the Vietnam section of the web site. What we had in mind were hauntingly beautiful coastal landscapes, and the life and people of an exotic foreign country very different from places that are familiar to us. Those things are there, and very enjoyable. However, Sue & Tony also visited Cu Chi, where, as an artifact of 'The American War' of the 1960s and early 1970s, there are 200kms of tunnels that are said to have stretched to Saigon, and into some American bases.
It was the map link to a place named My Lai that caught our eye, and sent a chill through us. Anyone who was around to listen to news broadcasts in 1970 will probably remember the name of an otherwise unremarkable hamlet in the Son My village. The two year lag, between the date of the atrocity and the trials and media attention, was almost as shameful as the original incident.
Douglas Linder has written an account for those unfamiliar with the history, or those in need of a reminder. Our own memories were proven unreliable in places when we read the timeline of the post WWII history of the conflicts in Indochina. Our featured travellers visited in 1994, and at the start of the second millennium Wade Hatler toured Vietnam, frequently on a recumbent bicycle, producing an interesting journal and photo gallery. Wade's pictures of the My Lai sculptures, and journal entries when visiting such places as a latterday civilian American, give an interesting perspective. There are many sides to any story: soon, we hope to bring you another.
We cannot think of any of our features that contains such a contrast: the two pictures on the left, showing a peaceful and traditional rural way of life; the two pictures on the right, representing the darkest and most violent side of human behavior.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)