Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not a bed of roses

Life in Cambodia isn't all fun and temple visits. I've been burdened with a skin infection for months now which has nearly disappeared a couple of times then returned much stronger than before. At the moment, it's at its very worst as I await the result of more blood tests at the end of this week. Earlier tests ruled out a few possibilities but the doctors have so far been stumped as to the cause of the infection. It's affected my arms, legs, face and neck and it ain't a pretty sight, so much so that I've restricted my outings in recent weeks. However, I can't let it stop me from enjoying my regular jaunts to places like Meta House, where I went this evening. Early doors was the opening of a permanent exhibition of Tim Page's photographs and the famous Vietnam War veteran was there to sign a few prints. I missed that but I did see the documentary Vietnam American Holocaust and that was enough to make my blood boil - not such a good idea in my condition. Produced by Clay Claiborne, it's a shaming indictment of the American involvement in a war that killed approximately 4 million Vietnamese civilians and rained down bombs, death and destruction on Cambodia and Laos too. It turned too many GIs into cold-blooded killers as the footage and interviews from that time showed all too graphically. How an American can ever look a Vietnamese in the eye without feeling his country's eternal shame is beyond me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we all know they're bad guys, those Americans. Now for the Brits, they aren't doing bad either, -and not only lately-, nor the Chinese, the Russians, the Saudis, etc. - just depends what direction you look :-(

February 24, 2009 at 10:33 PM  
OpenID alisonincambodia said...

Andy that sounds like no fun! I hope you get things cleared up ASAP.

February 24, 2009 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Absolutely Anon, and as I said in my blog, I'd just watched a docu about America's involvement - or should I say shoot-to-kill policy of exterminating any 'gook' they could find anywhere in Vietnam - often because they were bored or they needed the body count to out-perform their rival unit, or simply because they felt superior to the Vietnamese who they regarded as sub-human. Their words not mine. The film wasn't about any other country, it was about America. Got it? Every country has skeletons but America got it badly wrong in Southeast Asia and they still haven't learnt their lesson.

February 25, 2009 at 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to remember that the Vietnam war was incredibly unpopular in America, especially amongst the younger generation.

There were huge waves of university protests during the 60s and 70s which culminated in the shootings at Kent State by the National Guard.

It is the politicians not the people who should be blamed.

February 25, 2009 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Thank you Anon. I'm fully aware of that and the movement to end the war. But our governments are ours because we elect them, we have that ultimate power and we must take responsibility for their actions. For example I am shamed by the British support of the Khmer Rouge and coalition seat at the UN during the 80's, and like many of the US protesters, I got off my butt and did as much as I could to change that, but I still feel a collective national shame that my government helped in giving so many Cambodians a miserable existence during that period. My country's shame is my shame. I don't go around under a dark cloud all day long, but it will always be there. We got it wrong.

February 25, 2009 at 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree.

Unfortunately the British government has done so many things wrong it is quite hard for us citizens to keep track!

February 26, 2009 at 11:10 AM  

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