Saturday, April 25, 2015

Battleship Vietnam

E@L is not at all qualified to speak in any depth about war.

He knows very little about either the mutiny of the sailors on the Battleship Potemkin in 1905, or the non Apocalypse Now / Deer Hunter / Casualities of War parts of the Vietnam War, but when he was looking at a series of photos a while back in, was it, The Atlantic, about the Vietnam "conflict", (which failed to mentioned its prehistory with the War of Independence against France) he came across this pic of a farmer displaying his dead son to a tank-load of South Vietnamese soldiers, which triggered something in E@L's memory of Film Appreciation 101, back in his brief fling with higher education at Uni in 1976.

Ah, of course, that's right. There is a scene at the Odessa Steps in Eisenstein's film that is for all intents, identical.

Draw whatever conclusion you like about any similarities between the Russian Revolution and the Vietnam War, but killing children seems to be what war is all about these days. What with ISIS decapitating children and killing children in schools, and Boko Haram kidnapping school-children for who knows what nefarious purpose, we have to wonder what else we are capable of.

Could it get any worse, or has it always, in reality, been like this?


Nicholson Baker's Human Smoke gives ample support for this observation, that civilians have increasingly become the specified targets for warring nations during the twentieth century. Sure there has been raping and pillaging since tribes marked out boundaries, and since armies trampled through civilian areas on their way to the next staged battle, but it is the power of films and photography and YouTube that stamp these concepts into our minds today. We can see it everywhere, everyday, we don't have to look hard. Our minds explode with these images.

Soldiers might go to war, but that war comes to us, with a camera.

As Trotsky said, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."


Some targeted children have names:

Kim Phuc (note the photographer changing film next to her in this uncropped shot)
"Colonel Alles added that napalm had a ”big psychological effect” on an enemy. ”The generals love napalm,” he said." (Lindsay Murdoch, The Age, March 19, 2013)


Muhammad al-Durrah


Some don't.


We lament our young soldiers today, the 100th Aniversary of ANZAC Day. We should mourn for everyone who has died in "conflicts": man, woman, and child.

We should wring our hands and hang our heads in shame for the human race.



savannah said...

you're right, of course, but will it happen? *sigh*

expat@large said...

Thanks Sav. Ususally the expressions "you're right" snd "of course' are not seen in the same sentence in relation to my opinions. ;-)

DanPloy said...

Lovely writing, Phil.

Joanne Casey said...

Poor kids

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