.Take 3 (Click the number for info of entire trip)
This is another part of my report on our "pocket-size mission to Chong Kneas, Cambodia" that will be a multi-day posting that we hope to be helpful to those who plan to follow our steps.
The story will be long, from Saigon to Chong Kneas.
For your reference, the 237km-distance between Saigon > Phnom Penh is divided as following:
* Saigon > Moc Bai/Bavet = 71km
* Moc Bai/Bavet > Svay Rieng = 40km
* Svay Rieng > Neak Luong = 65km
* Neak Luong > Phnom Penh = 61km
For the previous postings, please use this theme. Thanks.
The first hundred kilometers on National Route 1 from Bavet is in good shape that allows a quick and easy flow of traffic. We arrived East bank of the Mekong River in Neak Luong around 11:00 AM, and were lucky to board the ferry immediately without waiting. There is an army of beggars on the ferry platform and this is the picture of two of them.
We kept being fed with the news of construction of a bridge that spans the Mekong soon at this location but so far it is just a rumor. In the meantime everyone knew this town is one of the worst stench in American military history after a B-52 Stratofortress mistakenly emptied its 20-ton load over innocent people. A mile-long string of more than 30 craters, running down the main street, had completely wiped out one-third of Neak Luong and heavily damaged another third. Thatch and wood shacks occupied by 3,000 soldiers and marines and their families were wiped out. The marketplace was destroyed. Even two-story steel-reinforced concrete buildings were shattered. Gruesome Debris. The impact from the American bombs, and from the government ammunition dumps ignited by them, strewed a gruesome debris of human limbs and bloody bedding all over the town. For acres, trees were denuded and charred. Days later, survivors still searched the rubble for missing family members. Many turned up in Phnom-Penh's overcrowded hospitals with arms and legs missing, puzzled as to why the US had bombed them. The intensive bombardment razed Neak Luong to the ground in an attempt to halt Khmer Rouge advance on Phnom Penh. After killing 137 civilians and wounded 268, the US government tried to cover it up by keeping the media out. The US ambassador offered compensation of US$100 per family and the navigator of the B-52 was fined US$700, which pretty much summed the American attitude to the price of Cambodian lives in this most miserable of sideshows.
The date of incident became part of history: Aug. 7, 1973. This page of history has been uncovered by New York Times’ correspondents Sydney Schanberg and Dith Pran. In 1984, the true story has been filmed under the name The Killing Fields.
Critiques | Translate
stiginthedump (1823) 2007-04-25 5:25
That's an interesting note Thanh especially the bit about the disaster, something that i'd never been aware of before.
But I' gonna question your choice of image to illustrate the note. The main thing that bothers me is the qulaity of the photo. Aside from the overexposure, you've sharpened the image way too much. Was it cropped heavily? When I see this image I don't think of a 70-200mm lens, but a cellphone camera!
PSYOPS (0) 2007-04-25 9:37
I must agree with Will about the quality of your today picture. However, I am not looking for quality in it. I am sharing with you the "guilty" complex as we were in the side of those who ordered the B-52 to "carpet" the town with bombs. You are correct, it was a dark stain in our military history. It wasn't a battle like Iwo Jima or Khe Sanh. It's a massacre. It's a twin of My Lai Massacre in Quang Ngai, Vietnam.
Thank you for bringing back the heroic action by Sysney and Dith. I hope they have chance to read your effort.
adamchewts01 (862) 2007-04-26 7:21
I realise how war has affected the innocent people to suffer. Even the war is over the effect stays with the people for a long time.
This prolonged effect has cause not only the adultys but the innocent young child as well. I love the notes and the picture showing these poor children.
Please allow me to add this picture to my theme "Children Of Poverty" to help create an awareness to the world and other TE members on the suffering of this innocent souls.
Thank you for sharing.
hoangthenhiem (2531) 2007-04-26 20:28
I wish I was with you on this trip. It's a shame that I could not postpone the exhibition in Bruxelles.
God bless your work!
- Copyright: Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) (8540)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Black & White
- Date Taken: 2007-03-17
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 70-200 F4 L, SanDisk Ultra II 2Gg
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): A quick return to Chong Kneas [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2007-04-25 4:35
- Favorites: 1 [view]