By Donald Kirk
Memories of a brutal past mingle with images of new beginnings in a region of thick mangrove swamps interlaced with canals from which Viet Cong guerillas more than 40 years ago fired rockets into the heart of the capital of “South” Vietnam.
Returning for the 40th anniversary of the fall of the old Saigon regime on April 30, 1975, instead of running into Viet Cong guerrillas, I find 50,000-ton freighters loading and unloading cargo containers by a dock that’s 80 percent owned by a Middle Eastern company. The new port facilities are on a branch of the Saigon River lined with thick jungle that was largely impenetrable to American troops before they withdrew after the signing of the “Paris Peace” in January 1973. Upstream, you can see a cluster of oil tanks that the Viet Cong occasionally managed to blow up, sending shockwaves of noise and fear. Read more