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Saturday, 17 February 2007

Innocense lost

The story of D probably began in Saigon in 1949. The major part of it took place in the town of Vung Tau. The last chapter but one was played out in the highlands of Pleiku. The final chapter is unknown. Perhaps it happened when the curtain fell on the Vietnam saga on Ist May 1975.
Perhaps the story had already ended some years before.
Somerset Maughan or Evelyn Waugh, those English writers of short stories, of the tragedy of life, of the passion and destruction of the East could have written it. Even the cynicism of a Guy de Maupessant would not have been lost. Not Chekhov though, he was for later, for another unfinished story.
Tragedy is a part of life in the East. Of course it happens in the West, but not in the same manner. In occidental society we make life clinicaly clean. Children are seldom present at funerals, at the slightest shock they are sent to the psychiatrist. In the East all are confronted with life and death and both live side by side.
There were many who had no choice, but D's situation was not desperate. It was perhaps boringly normal and it was more her own character that wanted too much too soon. Which wanted to live life to the full. Not I think, at least not at the begining, from a fear of ever present death, but more as a spring flower wishes to enjoy the sun to its full. But like this flower, to perish all too soon.
Photos still exist. Perhaps they should be sealed and sent into cyberspace to be opened in a century. Photos of beauty and happiness. None containing the despair that was surely to arrive.
D's was the tragedy of many in Vietnam, a by-product of the war, perhaps any war. Not listed amongst the killed as that young girl on the Road to Saigon. D's final fate is unknown, but she was most certainly a victim.

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