The hidden years in Canada 32, Nam

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Monday 06 April 10:32

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Nam

Vietnam put the Western world, the free world, upside down. The interference might not have been wise for the Americans, but there was definitely in the big world conquest game, a communist threat which was not made up. Nowadays religious motives lay the basis for the conflicts and provocation or revenge acts are carried out by terrorists, we lived in an area where only a few years before Kroetchef had placed missiles with a nuclear charge aimed at the states, in America's backyard, in Cuba. It would go down in history as the Cuba crisis and brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war. The Soviets had not done themselves any favors, because everyone saw them now in a diabolical role of ruthless aggressor who wanted to dominate the world. Political power systems are always dangerous because reason is exchanged for fanaticism.

North America got the message home when killed young boys, one after another, were flown in wrapped up in body bags to the homeland to be buried. The transport plane landed and the endless conveyor belt was brought up to the loading and unloading hatch and in stead of suitcases there was a cargo of body bags, with dead young people slowly transported downwards. Each body bag had a tag to the place of birth of the fallen. It was not for nothing that Country Joe and the Fish, made a highly critical song, which almost made him end up in jail and the rest of his life he would be shadowed for undermining morale in wartime. The only reason he did not meet an ‘accident’ was that he performed it at Woodstock and everyone would have known why Country Joe had met an accident, it was a lesson for a young nation, if you reveal something, do it right, then you are safe from the security services. That’s how Jane's brother came home, the war machine was working efficiently, a pack of shot, dead meat with a label on it, a one way ticket and a posthumous award.

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Come on all of you big strong men

Uncle Sam needs your help again

he's got himself in a terrible jam

Way down yonder in Viet Nam so

put down your books and pick up a gun, we're

gonna have a whole lotta fun

 

And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for

do not ask me I do not give a damn, next stop is Viet Nam

And it's five, six, seven, Open up the pearly gates

is not no time to wonder why, whoopee we're all gonna die

 

Come on wall street do not be slow

man why this war is a go-go

there's plenty good money to be made by

Supplying the army with the tools or notes trade

let's hope and pray That if They drop the bomb,

They drop it on the Viet Cong

 

Come on generals, let's move fast

your big chance has come at last

now you can go out and get Those reds

cos the only good commie is the one that's dead and

you know that peace can only be won when, we've

blown 'em all to kingdom come

 

Come on mothers Throughout the country

Pack your boys off to Viet Nam

come on fathers do not hesitate

send your sons off before it's too late

and you can be the first ones on your block

to have your boy come home in a box

 

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People were awakened to the terrible reality of the lie of two great superpowers that an area far away, was used as testing grounds for their weapons and they wanted nothing to do with it. They burned their draft cards, the cards calling you up for the army and were thrown in jail as traitors if they fled the country and if they escaped they could never return.

Jane did the only thing she could do, she tried to make people aware and took revenge on a ruthless system. Filled with heavy thoughts, I walked down the stairs and the John Fogerty girl came back to me, she said ‘hey Fuckerty you really are everywhere.’ ‘Yes,’ I said, 'yes, everywhere. ‘ ‘Now I will not let you go,’ she said, ‘I'll come with you.’  ‘Fine,’ I said, she could not help it but awareness had arrived like a blow and had blasted a hole in the party. Outside in the garden was a circle cheerfully talking and singing and to me it seemed nice to join them.

The sit-in was apparently over, there were a lot of people that came out in their white linnen shirts. The music changed, there was a record of Black Sabbath on, I recognized the song ‘War Pigs,’ Yep you could imagine happier texts. Slowly on people got really tired of Nam and turned more and more anti-Vietnam. Young men shot themselves in their foot and became lame but came back alive. I tried to imagine that you put a gun barrel over your foot and then pulled the trigger, your foot would become a kind of pulpy mash. The stories that began to seep through were ugly. Americans who could not cope against the guerrilla tactics of an invisible enemy, scattered from planes, 'agent orange' a chemical defoliant on suspicious areas, one effect was, that it was cancer-inducing. Thus all areas were ‘de-forested,’ ‘de-planted’ and there were no harvests. The president gave the order to use napalm firebombs and young children and women and the elderly ran around like torches through the fields. To no avail. The Vietcong reappeared, with their Russian weapons.

Lieutenant Calley was court-martialed and convicted when he went beserk and gave orders to shoot anyone they encountered, old women, children and helpless defenceless inhabitants. He sent unimaginable 'bodycounts'in. 453 to be exact, in a few weeks time. There was an American reward system, for so many killed enemies you got a pass to leave for Tokyo to the brothels. It was noticed that Lieutenant Calley and his men earned an incredible amount of those passes. They called just everything they encountered, ‘Vietcong’. They raped the women, killed them and then murdered entire villages laid the bodies in a pile and burned them. One of his men felt remorse after a few months and turned him in. An entire nation turned away in shame. The president personally  took notice. Calley was court-martialed and sentenced to imprisonment, his sentence was commuted to three years of house arrest.

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I went to the kitchen to get a shot in the arm, a good glass of whiskey. A loud shouting began outside. ‘Hey, here comes Ken, right on man, Ken, Ken. touch me, man. ‘ ‘Who is Ken,’ I asked surprised? The guy next to me who helped himself to a drink, looked at me as if he saw water burning. ‘You know, man,’ he said, ‘the love guru from San Francisco. A family friend of Jane’s. After evading military service he  could not return because they would see him as a deserter. ‘ ‘Oh,’ I said. When I came back outside I saw everyone crowding around a beautiful car. ‘Ken, I'm here,’ shouted a girl. Ken stepped out of the Mercury Cougar, I had never seen such a car, it was beautiful and Ken was cool, he smiled and raised a hand. It was silent. ‘Brothers,’ he said, ‘war is over, If You Want It.’ ‘Peace man.’ ‘He's right, you know,’ I said to Rico. ‘We vote for the politicians and if we want to the politicians must listen to us, otherwise they lose their job.’ ‘Oh, that way,’ Rico said, and I realized that Vietnam and the suffering there, did not really matter to him. That was the real problem, the hippy movement was growing in a big way but could not unite as a power block, because that was not hip, because then again you’d become part of the established order and stopping the war machine finally took some years.

It was early in the morning when Ken, as high as a frog, almost fell next down to me. ‘ Those are nice wheels that you have there, ‘I said. 'Oh,' he said, 'easy come easy go, I don’t longer care, you know. ‘ ‘Well ..’ I said really? ‘Man, if you suddenly make money and can buy no matter what, there is always more that comes past, it’s a drag. What do you do for a living, ‘he asked me? ‘I'm in  building,’ I said. ‘What do you do,’ I asked? ‘Nothing more man, I only get a whole bunch of money. You know what, it really gets boring after a while and you go to a sit-in and you stay with a nice girl overnight but in reality you have lost your goals, you dig? ‘ ‘Yeah sort of,’ I said. ‘How did that come about’ I wanted to know,’ and he shared his secret, an incredible secret that I knew I had to share it within a few hours with Beverly and Don and Rico.

San Daniel March 2015

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