Welcome to ILR CORNELL IN VIETNAM! Follow the ILR School's students during the winter break. ILRies will be joining students from Ton Duc Thang University in Ho Chi Minh City to learn about labor relations and arbitration in Vietnam. Together they will engage in a case study that will provide a greater understanding of conflict resolution and labor in the Vietnamese context. This program is sponsored ILR's Sheinman Institute and managed by ILR's International Programs.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Visiting the War Remnants Museum
January 15, 2017
the day with brunch at a vegetarian restaurant in District 1. The vegetarian
food was delicious and definitely livened up Samir. From there, we walked
across a park. It rained for the first time during our stay in Vietnam, which
made for a nice contrast with our usual sunny and dry days. You can see our group enjoying the
rain and the beauty of the park in the photos below.
Walking through the park
visited the War Remnants Museum. Upon entering the museum, we saw aircraft,
tanks, and helicopters used by the Americans during the war. Tourists wandered around
and took photos in front of these remnant instruments of war.
near the military vehicles, was an exhibition of the island prison camps first
built by the French but then used by the South Vietnamese government and then
the United States. The exhibit displayed the inhumane treatment and torture of
prisoners who were arrested for allegations of subversion. The museum certainly
did not hold back on showing the macabre and repugnant conduct that took place
in these prisons.
seeing the outdoor exhibits, our group then entered the museum. On the ground
floor were hundreds of photos and posters expressing international condemnation
of the US-Vietnam war. There were pictures of mass protests, letters from world
leaders, and various newspaper articles. In addition to these was a small
section showing US-Vietnam relations today – included were several pictures
from President Obama’s visit last year.
An Anti-War banner
then visited the second and third floors. There was an exhibit dedicated to
photographers who risked their lives or even perished to capture images of the
war. Over a hundred photographers were injured, killed, or considered missing
as a result of their mission. However, their work lives in the photo gallery
exhibition of famous, unflinchingly honest portrayals of the war. One image
that particularly struck me was the image of a mother and her children fleeing
through a lake to get to a place of safety. There was another image of an older
brother laying atop his younger brother in a desperate attempt to protect him.
There were many images of Vietnamese civilians taken right before they were
exhibit was dedicated to the disastrous effects of Agent Orange, a form of
herbicidal warfare that was hugely destructive and an undeniable egregious war
crime. Photographs and videos showed airplanes spraying the aerial herbicide
across the country. There were photographs of forests destroyed by the chemical
however even worse yet, the effects on the civilians were even worse.
Photographs displayed soldiers exposed to Agent Orange who suffered from many
diseases as a result of the exposure. There was a gallery dedicated to showing
the children born of those affected. In addition, Agent Orange resulted in many
genetic mutations, some of them too severe that they considerably limited the
capability of children to take care of themselves, inhibiting growth and even
leading to death.
Spraying Agent Orange
Victims of Agent Orange
the War Remnants Museum left us somber but also provided us with a deeper
understanding of the tragedy of war. Its honest portrayal of the war’s destruction
and its lasting effects gave us insight into the complicated history we share with
Vietnam. The visit also offered the poignant reminder that many wounds from
this war have yet to heal. Despite the horrors within however, a banner outside
the museum expressed the importance of peace and hope for the future. I think
this museum visit reinforced in me the need for understanding history so that
we do not duplicate the mistakes and tragedy of the past.
After the War Remnants Museum, our group paid a
visit to Bui Vien Street, a backpacker area with many pop-up shops. There were
many tourists in this area and many of the storefronts catered towards a more
international audience. We then had dinner at an indoor market before going to
a café to finish our final presentations. Overall, today was very memorable and
a day that will always remain with me and the other Cornellians. -Clara