BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Echoes of War

HO CHI MINH, Vietnam - To many of us, the Vietnam war is a distant memory of the past. But at the War Remnants Museum here, the memories linger, constantly and painfully.

On display are hundreds of photos, artifacts and other vestiges of war crimes and aftermaths. One is moved by the portraits of foreign aggression: torture, blood, pain, desperation.

There's the Pulitzer-prize winning photo of photojournalist Kyoichi Sawada in1965 of a Vietnamese mother crossing the river with her children to flee from American bombs. (see photo)

There too, are photos of victims of Agent Orange. One child whose mother was exposed to the dioxin when she was pregnant was born without his right arm.

There's also a collection of photos taken by 134 war reporters (from 11 nationalities) killed during the Vietnam war. Through their lenses, the world saw the savagery of the war.

The war reminds all of us of the brave souls of people and the strength of the human spirit. It defines who is real and who is not. More importantly, it reminds us, constantly, of our good fortunes.