‘In the Jungles of Asia, the Vietnam War is far from over.’
Although the conflict in Vietnam and the region effectively ‘ended’ in 1975, evil created or released by the Vietnam War continues to cause problems in the present day jungles of Asia, and in many Asian countries themselves. This is one of the themes of my Vietnam War crossover novel, BACK.
I am struck by how often the above quote used in the article headline, by one of the characters in the novel, seems to be relevant for recent news stories which I could never have foreseen at the time I wrote it.
Take this, dealing with one of the more obvious war issues, and one of the central themes in the novel, from utsandiego.com, headed “40 Years On, Laotians Tell of US War Legacy”
Forty years after the secret U.S. bombing that devastated Laos, heirs to the war’s deadly legacy of undetonated explosives are touring America to prod the conscience of the world’s most powerful nation for more help to clear up the mess.
Then there’s a recent Businesswire article headed “Laos: Coalition Opposes Taxpayer’s Funding of Bomb Removal From Vietnam War.”
The Center for Public Policy Analysis and a coalition of Lao and Hmong non-governmental organizations are opposing a controversial multi-million dollar U.S. Department of State project to remove unexploded Vietnam War-era ordnance and bombs from Laos.
This article also raises other contemporary War-related problems, such as human rights abuses, and in particular the emnity directed towards the Hmong in Laos, mainly on account of them having fought alongside the US in the Secret War. The ongoing mistreatment of ethnic minorities who fought with the US in both Vietnam and Laos is something I also reference in the book.
The need to do something about UXO is vividly demonstrated in two recent articles about the deaths of Vietnamese children killed by what are believed to be war-era mortar bombs.
This happened very recently when two children on their way to school were killed in Vietnam when they played with a mortar shell.
It was also relevant a few months ago, when four Vietnamese children were killed playing with another mortar shell in Hue.
Even the death of Margaret Thatcher was relevant to anti-war themes dealt with in the novel as was the death of a Khmer Rouge senior cadre, Ieng Sary, and the ongoing and protracted Khmer Rouge prosecutions in Phnom Penh.
As time goes on, I’m struck by how many international news articles reflect many of the issues dealt with in BACK, and I enjoy featuring them on here when they do.
For POWs left behind in Laos, see:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
BACK Parts 1 and 2:
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