Why Vietnam

Nobody wants to keep re-fighting the Vietnam War, least of all the people who live there and who have done their best to put it all behind them. Their focus is on building a better future for their children, and their children’s children. The fact is that if there had been no war there would be no need for organisations such as Platypus.

Vietnam was pulverised and brutalised over a 30-year period, after which it spent 20 years in an economic wilderness, isolated by the major western powers. It has a great deal of catching up to do, and it needs a hand in some areas.

When one talks about Vietnam, there are several elephants crowded into a tiny room, so let’s get those out of the way.

Vietnam is less than half the size of New South Wales, but during the American War of 1965-1973 it received three times the total aerial bombing tonnage of all countries during World War 2. War against the French cost Vietnam 500,000 lives, the American War another 3,000,000 and the Japanese occupation caused a further 2,000,000 to die of starvation. Since war’s end 38,000 have died from unexploded bombs left behind as the Americans departed hurriedly.

The tragedy continued after wars end. Over 2,000,000 Vietnamese fled the country becoming known as the boat people, but some 200,000-400,000 (UNHCR figures) died during their journey. The survivors have contributed enormously to their new countries and Platypus is delighted at signs of support for its projects from the local Vietnamese communities.

Then of course there are the 2,000,000 Agent Orange victims, a horror that nobody really wants to know about.

The Vietnamese have had their hands full since the French embarked upon their mission of civilisation, but they sure as hell could use a hand.

Rest assured, your donation will find a very good cause.

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