Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday, Feb 19th, Buon Me Thuot


Another long Central Highland drive brings us to Buon Me Thuot.  We saw many more minorities struggling to keep their motorbike and rice-paddy tiller engines running, and making everything possible out of wood.  The road we followed from Pleiku is actually quite famous in the saga of the Vietnam War.  Sixty thousand North Vietnamese and Viet Cong against an equal number of South Vietnamese led to a 29-day battle in which forty thousand Vietnamese died along this road in 1973.  It was the Waterloo of the central figure of Vietnam at the time, President Nguyen Van Thieu.  You can read all about it at the: Battle_of_Ban_Me_Thuot.

The battle is celebrated in plenty of street names, memorials, and statues.  But we visited pagodas and coffee fields and waterfalls.  And everywhere we went, there were smiling faces.  It's really hard to imagine that all that effort was expended by lots of armies and civilians on all sides, that all those years of sacrifice took place, and we're probably right now where everyone wanted Vietnam to be in 1945.  Except the French, who wanted their colony back from the Japanese.  We should have been smarter, and  should have insisted that Vietnam be given their independence.  I'm betting they would have become the strongest entrepreneurial society in Asia.  China would have been more concerned with her southern flank, and our Korean conflict might not have happened.  We wouldn't have been snookered into buying into the domino theory, and killed three million Vietnamese.  We wouldn't have needed to invade Cambodia and depose their king, causing the Kymer Rouge to go bezerk and kill one-third of their population and a lot of Vietnamese.  Then, Vietnam wouldn't have invaded Cambodia, and occupied it for nine years.

And what's become of the region 65 years later?  A government bound by 50 years of war to end colonial rule which has become in the last 15 years what we fought to make it - a country of entrepreneurial families in every house, with a healthy disrespect for big government.  I finally found it, a country full of Republicans.   

To see all of the photos taken today, click on: Saturday, Feb19th, Buon Me Thuot


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, nice site. Posted by myself in bookmarks