Friday, 18 April 2014

Dien Bien Phu: 60th Anniversary

                Above, me standing under a little war monument in Northern France


Well it is truly hard to believe that the Battle of 'Dien Bien Phu' happened over sixty years ago on May the 7th 1954. It was a time of great change in the world. The 1950s saw a lot of the colonial powers losing their prize bounties of their former colonies. Be it with the British in India, or the French in North Africa - and not forgetting the French's prized possession of Indochina: Now known today as the countries of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

I think back to when I wrote my novel 'Slaves To The Generals' a few years ago - and on how - I tried to emphasize the feelings and the momentum which caused the French to lose Indochina.
The events and turmoil that surrounded the citizens and colonial forces caught up amongst this dark franchise of an episode before and during the Battle of 'Dien Bien Phu' was a nightmare of epic proportions.

'Dien Bien Phu' was in truth a hopeless proposition to undertake. The 'battle plan' was flawed, and 'its' whole goal to defeat the Viet Minh in one final throw of the dice descended into a bloody fiasco and a cataclysmic defeat for the French Expeditionary Forces.

While I was in France a few days ago, I found a little War Memorial with some of the names of the fallen from the Indochinese Campaign. I took a couple of photos of the monument and it really reinforced to me, that in retrospect, all the 'brave souls' who die in battle only end up 'marked' with a 'name mention' on a slab of marble, or engraved on a slab of brightened stone. No matter if the 'cause' they fought for was deemed for the good or for the bad.

We are all supposed to be celebrating the anniversary of the First World War in the summer of 2014,
but in essence there is nothing worth remembering: All fucking War Sucks!!!