When the Whole Village Died – My Lai Massacre

Feelings — 17.3.2018

It was a sunny Saturday morning 50 years ago – 16th of March in 1968. My Lai (aka Son My) villagers were preparing for the Saturday market as usual. Today the difference was that just a bit later the US army soldiers attacked the village and took their lives.

By a rough estimation 504 unarmed civilians died in the My Lai massacre for no reason. US army had presumed that the enemy the Viet Cong battalion was hiding in the village and that the villagers were protecting them. USA planned a massive attack and executed that – but no enemies neither any gun was found in the village. Still – apparently the most fucked-up soldiers in the whole wide world – started killing the civilians of the village: mostly children, women and elderly people. They tortured them, raped them, burned down the houses and killed everyone, the people and the livestock. The innocent victims were anyone from a one-year-old to a grandparent. Only a few of the villagers survived – one of them is Mr. Pham Thanh Cong who has dedicated his life to keep these horrible events unforgettable. He was eleven years old when he witnessed and survived My Lai. Later he started running the My Lai massacre site and museum where people learn everyday about the past cruelty.

Like in Cambodian killing fields the butterflies were gliding almost as symbols of the spirits in My Lai. The birds were singing there as life continues. The same trees, which had experienced the sad day, stood there at the same spot. It was incomprehensible to understand that so many valuable human spirits had been killed right on that ground where I was standing. One thing I have never realised is that how someone grows and becomes bad? How could someone kill? Yeah maybe for a self-defence – but for nothing???

The “Charlie Company” C-company lieutenant William Calley was the person mainly accused for the My Lai massacre. This man had killed many and gave an order to kill. He was the only person who was convicted for the massacre but a few days after he got a life sentence president Nixon let him off. If his sentence was admitted all the US guilt would have been admitted. No. USA had the proxy war against the Soviet Union – aside they did some gang raping and mass slaughter for the civilians and that was OK. With this unbelievable example USA presents one of the biggest violation of human rights and the worst war crimes in history. You only hope it gives a lesson rather than inspires some monsters out there in the war of today. Already seven years has passed since the Syria conflict started and human rights are dismissed everyday. As miss universes do, I would wish that the world peace would finally come true. Is it really naive to hope there wouldn’t be war here?

The My Lai massacre ended just before the whole village was dead. Maybe a dozen of people survived when a !human! young American pilot Hugh Thompson flew there and stood up against his country. His crew helped a few villagers that were alive. In his book The Witness from Pinkville the survivor Mr. Pham Thanh Cong tells about his anxiety. This incredible something that was done to him and his dead family is something he can never understand.


Pham Thanh Cong – The Witness from Pinkville
My Lai museum

My Lai Son My village

My Lai silk tree silkkipuu
Mr Do Phi’s five-person family was killed, only their tree survived
My Lai demonstration field worker
A demonstration of the My Lai village life before the massacre: a man plowing the field
My Lai children demonstration
A demonstration of the village life before the massacre: a mother and a child in the kitchen of the small hut. Then in one sunny morning the house of Mr Do Ky’s family was burned down and the family was killed.
My Lai kookospuu coconut tree
This coconut tree was standing in the crime scene
My Lai uhrit victims
The ruins of the burned homes have the incenses to respect the memories of the killed families, everyday
My Lai memorial victims uhrit
There were victims from age one to grandparents
My Lai memorial art
The tragedy will always be remembered
My Lai ditch oja
The soldiers pushed the villagers there and shot them
My Lai memorial muistomerkki
The memorial of the victims
My Lai children lapsiuhrit
A boy covering his younger brother – and then they were killed
My Lai son my victims uhrit
Photos you can’t understand
My Lai massacre joukkomurha
One of the most desperate pictures I have ever seen: a raped woman buttoning up her shirt – soon after the photo was taken she and her children were shot
My Lai Killers us army
The people behind the mass slaughter, they were not held accountable for their actions. We need justice in this world!
My Lai US soldiers killers
US soldiers that killed the innocent villagers. The third on the upper row couldn’t take it what he had done and he had committed a suicide – no wonder.
My Lain uhri ase ohimolla
My Lai victims – how crazy is that the US army had a photographer who took all these pictures. Why? At least the photo documentation didn’t help them to hide the tragedy. Hopefully these picture awaken the world to see the unnecessary human death of the civilians that is still happening in the war fields of today.
My Lai uhrit victims
For the memory of the 504 victims of My Lai
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