Aside from all of the hustle and bustle of the Saigon, the city has a history that not many know about. Like I said, we learn one side of the story in history class. We learned that the Americans were trying to save the South Vietnamese from becoming a communist country controlled by the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong. But, little did we know how torturous and gruesome war can be, until we went to the War Remnants Museum. The pictures they had on display tell the story of how horrible the war was a how it destroyed parts of Vietnam and its people. They were held in prison camps and exposed to Agent Orange, one of the most dangerous dioxins. The U.S. Army used this dioxin to get rid of the trees and shrubs in rural South Vietnam. Little did they know that it not only caused disabilities among American soldiers, but also thirty years after the war, Vietnamese babies are still being born with physical and mental birth defects. It’s a tragic reality. We actually saw a baby with physical defects that was probably a result of Agent Orange.
We also learned about another reality of Phu Quoc Island. Two days before going to the beautiful beach, we learned that the South Vietnamese government with the help of the U.S. Army kept a prison camp on the island, where they would torture and kill the Viet Cong in tiger cages and much more. Tiger cages were a box made of barbed wire. The Viet Cong were forced in these, sometimes three or four people at a time and they would pretty much bleed to death together.
We have to learn these facts through museums and books. The war was really harsh for the Vietnamese, which is the reason why many don’t talk about it. Unfortunately, the younger generation, such as mine, has no idea what the story is behind how we are alive today.