Thursday, February 8, 2018

Revisiting Vietnam 50 Years After the Tet Offensive

Revisiting Vietnam 50 Years After the Tet Offensive
The battles of 1968 are long over. But the struggle to confront the truth goes on
Excerpt: ew years ago, a French-German TV crew visited my home in Hanoi for an interview on how Vietnam had changed since the end of the war with America. We talked of postwar problems, the people’s achievements, the old and new generations of leaders, and the country’s aspirations. We also talked of history, of course. At one point, our conversation veered toward the events surrounding the Tet Offensive, in January 1968. It took but a few seconds for the government media minder, an official of the foreign ministry, to stop us. Agitated, she told me to stay inside while she took the producer and reporter out to my garden, where she threatened to shut down the production if the subject was broached again, or even if we returned to the general topic of 1968. Later, I told her about all the information on the war that was freely available: books, documentary films, television shows, photographs, articles, essays. I showed her Google listings. I tried to point out that the more she tried to suppress the information, the more that journalists would dig deeper. I could barely hide my anger. “You will not talk about that,” she kept saying. “You will not.”

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