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Sunday, 14 October 2007

A woman of the North. Memories of Vietnam

Nearly a million refugees had fled the north after the division of the country following the departure of the French. The French colonisers had divided what had been Vietnam, the Land of the Southern Viets, which at the dawn of history had broken away from China. The country became Tonkin, Annam and Cochin-Chine. These were three cultural regions but the French made them separate administrative areas with different statutes. These were then lumped together with Cambodia and Laos to become what in my youth I knew as French Indochina.
After the loss of of their Indochinese colonies Vietnam was divided into two. North and South Vietnam. Despite American denials to the contrary I never accepted the fact that there were two Vietnams. Certainly there was much difference in character between the north and the South. I knew people from both, particularly the women. They are of course the way one usually learns about a country.

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