10:07′ 27/08/2008 (GMT+7)

Grandchild (2006).

VietNamNet Bridge – Painter Le Duc Biet has recently opened his individual painting exhibition entitled “Past and Present” at the Vietnam Military History Museum.

Through 79 paintings in various genres inducing sketches, oil and gouache, the exhibition is a lively story about the war and peace  from the anti-US war to the present day.

Le Duc Biet’s paintings highlight the image of soldiers, the revolutionary war and the armed forces.

He also introduced his 20 sketches featuring the historical moments of the the fire co-ordinate of Ninh Binh and Ham Rong, Thanh Hoa during 1966-1973

Le Duc Biet now works for the Nam Dinh Fine Arts Association. He has many paintings winning prizes at national and regional exhibitions.

(Source: Nhan Dan)

Vietnam War Remnants Museum

September 23, 2008

The human rights violations and war crimes atrocities American and French forces committed in Vietnam

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(January 27, 2005)

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Photo of Vietnamese school children completing homework assignments about American weapons used against their country during the Vietnam war.

pic of American M16 rifle being held against a civilian woman’s head.

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Picture of American tank on display at the American (Vietnam) War Remnants Museum.

Image of American helicopter with rocket launcher used in battle in Vietnam.

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Picture of American soldier laughing historically at the charred remains of a VC soldier who was burned to death by a Napalm Bomb.

Picture of American GI’s using water torture to extract information from a Communist soldier

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Image of American Army grunt committing war crimes in Vietnam.

Pictures of Dummy portraying Northern POW.

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Picture of American armored fighting vehicle dragging men to their death.  Remember Somalia when America claimed higher ground when war lords drug US pilots around the capital.

Picture of Agent Orange or Dioxin kills and is one of America’s WMD Weapon of Mass Destruction.

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Image of America’s aircraft spraying Agent Orange Dioxin on civilian villages in Vietnam.

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Photo of innocent Vietnamese children who were often the victims of Agent Orange Defoliant Dioxin..

Picture of still born kids from Agent Orange spray.

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Photo of peasant farmer plowing field as French military forces drive by.

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Picture of Bicycle Iron Horses being pushed down the Ho Chi Minh Trail

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Photo of little American boy who lost his father in Vietnam sitting in military graveyard

Picture of highly decorated army sergeant who returned his medals and telling the Vietnamese people that he was wrong and sorry.

The Vietnamese film masterpiece Bao Gio Cho Den Thang Muoi (The Love Doesn’t Come Back) has just been selected as one of the 18 best Asian films of all times by the news network CNN.
The film, made in 1984 by director Dang Nhat Minh, takes a gritty look at the emotional war. It feels like something right out of the ‘60s, evoking both nostalgia for what was and a profound relief over what has ended. It stars Le Van as the main female character.
Coming home after visiting her husband at the southwestern front, Duyen (Le Van) carries with her an endless pain. He husband had died. On her journey home by boat, she fell in the river and was saved by teacher Khang. Duyen hides the death of her husband from the family, especially from her father-in-law who is seriously ill. To console him, Duyen asks Khang to imitate her husband’s writing and write letters to the family to keep their hopes alive. The letters bring joy to the family, while she suffers alone. To further complicate her life, rumours spread that she and Khang are having an affair.
When Duyen’s father-in-law knows he is dying, he asks Duyen to call his son home to meet him for the last time. And at that moment, the news about the death of her husband cannot be hidden anymore.
The film, considered one of the masterpieces of Vietnam’s cinema, won prestigious national and international prizes including the Golden Lotus at the Vietnam Film Festival in 1985, special prize at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival in 1989, and was also honoured at the International Hawaii Film Festival in 1985.
Minh was born in Hue in 1938 and started his career in 1965 as a documentary maker. He has made dozens of films which have received domestic and international recognition. Minh was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Republic of Korea (RoK) in 2005.
In CNN’s list of top 18 films in Asia, China ranked first with five films that include In the Mood for Love, To Live, Shower, Infernal Affairs and Still Life, China’s films are followed by Japan’s Shall We Dance?, Ikiru and the Ballad of Narayama. Films made by RoK, New Zealand, India, Chinese Taipei and Iran also made the list. (VNA)

A Toxic Legacy In Vietnam

September 23, 2008

17 September 2008

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The United States and Vietnam continue to expand their cooperation to address Agent Orange and its toxic contaminant dioxin, with a joint advisory committee meeting last week in Hanoi.

The working session, the third in as many years, brought American and Vietnamese scientists together to review ongoing U.S.-Vietnam Agent Orange efforts as well as to discuss additional environmental remediation and health projects to be recommended to policy makers. Plans were announced for use of three million dollars provided by the U.S. Congress for programs to deal with Agent Orange, a defoliant used in some parts of the country during the Vietnam war.

Agent Orange has long been a sensitive issue for both nations. In recent years, however, discussion has moved beyond the finger pointing of old adversaries toward the constructive cooperation of international partners. While more scientific research must be done to determine the lasting impact of Agent Orange on Vietnam, the U.S. acknowledges Vietnam’s concerns and is acting to help address them. The science-based, joint-government approach of the recent meetings illustrates how Vietnam and the United States are working closely together to move forward on this issue.

“Everyone today understands the importance of this issue to U.S.-Vietnam relations and to the Vietnamese people,” said U.S. Ambassador Michael Michalak.

Overall, the U.S. has spent more than forty million dollars to help Vietnamese with disabilities, regardless of cause. Some of the money allocated by Congress for Agent Orange activities will help people with disabilities in Danang, the site of a former U.S. airbase where the defoliant was stored and prepared for aerial use. The U.S. is also looking into cleanup activities of so-called dioxin “hot spots” and aims to join with other donors to best coordinate efforts.

Looking forward, the U.S. will continue to focus on supporting Vietnamese efforts to secure a safe environment and assisting Vietnamese living with disabilities, regardless of their cause.

The first Vietnamese private aircraft will take to the skies next week, says its owner Doan Nguyen Duc, chairman of the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company (HAGL), a well-known Vietnamese conglomerate.

Duc told Thanh Nien Wednesday that the Vietnam Air Services Co. has finished 95 percent of procedures permitting his Beechcraft King Air 350 to take off.

When the procedures get completed by next week, the plane will fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Pleiku Town, where HAGL is headquartered, in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, Duc said.

Duc bought the aircraft from the US for US$7 million in May this year.

Reported by Tran Hung

By D’ANN WHITE | The Brandon News & Tribune
Published: September 17, 2008

TAMPA – The story spread like wildfire through the close-knit Vietnamese-American community.

In churches around the nation, they held special services to pray for the 18-year-old woman of Vietnamese heritage who was brutally raped and beaten April 24 at Bloomingdale Regional Library in Brandon.

In Westminster, Calif., Michael Nguyen, a member of the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California, organized a carwash and bake sale to help pay her medical bills.

Closer to home, Michelle Phan of Tampa and her friends were considering a similar type of fundraiser after learning the victim likely will need expensive, long-term rehabilitation.

“I first heard about the rape victim on a MySpace bulletin,” said Phan, a 21-year-old student studying illustration at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota. “A lot of young people were talking about it so, after hearing her story, how she had this full scholarship to college and so much promise that was destroyed, I just felt compelled to help her.”

Phan said their first idea was to host a barbecue or carwash. But when she announced her plans on her Web site, xanga.com/ricebunny, the fundraiser evolved into Fashion for Compassion, a benefit fashion show.

“People just started offering to help,” Phan said. “We got the ballroom at the Tampa Convention Center for a huge discount, free food, and a lot of independent Asian and American designers from around the country contributed fashions for the show; everything from T-shirts and street wear to couture.”

Amid it all, Phan and her partners, Yvette Nguyen, 20, of Sarasota and Wey Nguyen, 25, of St. Petersburg, received an unexpected phone call two weeks ago.

The rape victim’s mother called to say she heard about the benefit and appreciated it, Phan said. The mom said her daughter, who is undergoing inpatient rehabilitation in Sarasota, can’t walk or talk and is partially blind, but she can smile in response to questions, Phan said.

“Our hearts just dropped when we got that call. She invited us to meet with her and her daughter,” Phan said, adding the women gratefully accepted the invitation. “The family is really private, and we felt so honored, so trusted and so inspired.”

i’m angry and frustrated about what happened to this woman, and why. it makes me feel sick and disgusted. it hurts. i wonder why people could be so cruel. and then i think about the people who have supported this woman, and women throughout the world, to stop violence. i think my role as director for Cal’s Vagina Monologues. my mission, my community. i think about the kindness and courage of such people like Phan and her fellow designer friends. and i am inspired.

Part of Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi, where Senator John McCain was held, is a museum. The rest was razed for a high-rise. (Justin Mott for The New York Times)

McCain’s war story is a fading memory in Vietnam

McCain’s war story is a fading memory in Vietnam
Sunday, September 21, 2008

HANOI: Senator John McCain’s wartime jailer thrust two fingers into the air as if he were on a campaign trail and shouted: “John McCain! My friend! Victory!”

It is a fiction he seems to revel in – the jailer who was actually the prisoner’s friend, who has watched his political career with paternal pride, and who is now hurt and offended when McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, says he was tortured by his captors.

Tran Trong Duyet, 75, was head of the guard unit at Hoa Lo prison – nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton – during McCain’s five-and-a-half-year imprisonment, which began after his bomber was shot down over the city in October 1967. Duyet presided over the neglect and torture of McCain, which was witnessed by his fellow prisoners and which left him with lasting injuries.

The experience has become a staple of McCain’s political biography, and it has given Duyet a place in a footnote of history, which he occupies with gusto.

For most Vietnamese, though, McCain’s story is an obscure artifact of a receding history. In a week of interviews around Hanoi, neither his imprisonment nor his presidential candidacy seemed to arouse much excitement.

Vietnam’s relations with the United States are on an even keel, and Vietnam has little at stake in the election.

While McCain wins points among some Vietnamese for having supported the normalization of relations with the United States in 1995, his story, for the most part, has taken on an aura of wartime kitsch in Vietnam, like the self-parodying propaganda posters that are now sold in galleries, or the “Good Morning Vietnam” T-shirts popular with tourists.

There is Duyet, the jailer with the vivid imagination. There is the nurse who treated McCain for a few minutes after he was shot down. And there is Mai Van On, the man credited with pulling McCain from the lake after he crashed, and who died two years ago.

There is the little chunk of the prison, preserved as a museum when the rest of the building was razed to make way for a high-rise, with its half-hearted and anachronistic wartime propaganda.

Duyet still seems at home here, and his memories are in harmony with the carefully chosen exhibits in the museum; he pointed proudly to a sweater and a paper fan as evidence of the comforts the prisoners enjoyed.

The walls are hung with photographs of prisoners playing sports and making Christmas dinner and of McCain lying on a cot being treated by a doctor.

“That’s me with the prisoners,” Duyet said, pointing to a group photograph. “And there we are shaking hands like friends when the prisoners were released.”

But his greatest pride is his account of his relationship with McCain.

“I used to meet with him in my office at the end of the day and debate with him,” Duyet said. “We debated quite fiercely, but there was never any personal prejudice between us. The debate was between two men in a manly style. But after that we were quite friendly. We didn’t take it personally.”

This is certainly not the way McCain remembers it, nor is it the way that witnesses and history have recorded it. In 2000, McCain called his captors “cruel and sadistic people” and declared, “I will hate them for as long as I live.”

McCain has visited Hanoi several times in recent years, and although he has returned to the prison, he has not met with Duyet to compare memories. “I’ll call right now my interrogator that tortured me and my friends a gook,” McCain said in 2000, using a particularly offensive term for Asians. “You can quote me.”

Soon after the prisoners were released in 1973, he described his torture in a long essay in U.S. News & World Report.

“They bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching,” he wrote. “After a few hours of that, ropes were put on me and I sat that night bound with ropes.”

He continued: “For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked.”

None of that is true, Duyet insisted. All fabrication. All political posturing by McCain. “Some Americans still carry a prejudice toward Vietnam,” he said. “So McCain has to say he was beaten to gain the votes of these people.”

At the edge of the lake in Hanoi where McCain parachuted from his crippled plane, there is a small concrete marker noting the event. It depicts a man on his knees with his arms in the air as if surrendering.

“I don’t know much about him,” said Do Van Sy, 78, who was exercising nearby in white shorts and a white tank top, carrying an umbrella in case of rain and a paper fan in case of sun. “You’ll have to ask the older men about that.”

Bo The An, 76, sitting on a bench nearby, knew quite a bit about McCain. “He was a pilot who bombed Vietnam, and he was our enemy,” he said. “But that was a long time ago. The important thing is what is in his mind today. I wish him good luck.”

In his 1973 account, McCain said that he broke his right leg and both arms when his plane crashed and that he was surrounded by an angry crowd, “all hollering and screaming and cursing and spitting and kicking at me.”

Once he was pulled from the crowd, a nurse named Nguyen Thi Thanh said, she bound his wounds and gave him a few sips of medicinal liquor.

In an interview, Thanh, now 81, said she had followed his career since then, although with her fading eyesight he is just a fuzzy image now on television.

“It seems he’s been running for president for a long time,” she said. “So he’s quite persistent, isn’t he?”

She is confident that whatever happens, he will not give up. “I’m only 81 now. My mother lived till 94. That’s 13 more years. So each time he runs for the presidency, I’ll have a chance to see him again.”