One of the places that I was told was a must see in Ho Chi Minh city is the War remnants museum. The museum is a record of the of the Vietnam war and contains many artefacts and pieces of military equipment. As a photographer I was really pleased to see so many photographs of the war and such a strong exhibit about the photographers who took them.
It is never easy seeing images of war but the photos in the exhibition were particularly graphic. They showed images of brutality and the horrors of War like you could only really imagine. It was confronting to say the least. I spent most of my time there with a lump in my throat. For the Vietnamese people the museum is a shrine to suffering inflicted on them by the incredible American War machine.
With all places like this you must approach them with a critical mind. It is hard to know what is propaganda and what is real. It is no different to our own history books. There is no doubt though that War is awful. Images of GI’s with captured prisoners, the effects of agent orange and the sheer devastation wrought upon the civilian population.
It’s hard when you come to these kinds of places not to be swept up with the history of them. It’s also hard not to see that history it seems is doomed to repeat itself. Right now there are conflicts going on in other parts of the world and I cannot help but wonder if people like me will one day be wandering as tourists through those places and wonder again, what was it all for.