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