黒川です。この正月の挨拶で、私は昨年末のベトナム旅行が大成功であったこと、わが生涯で最も実りの多い研修旅行であったことを皆様にお伝えしました。 しかし、具体的な説明は何一つしませんでした。一体何が良かったのか、その片鱗でも示さなければ、私は無責任発言をしたことになると考え、旅行でのひとつ の出来事を自己表現しました。
Cu Chi Tunnel
Late in December, 2001, I made a week's group trip to Vietnam . The main aim was to visit some schools to watch English teaching in Vietnam , but in this essay I will write about a different thing.
Theoretically I am able to explain why such a small country as Vietnam defeated the most powerful, America, but I am not so confident of the reason. I assumed that an on- the-spot investigation might solve my question. Concerning this issue, my Vietnam visit was very successful. We know that the Vietnam War (1954-1975) was the most horrible and the most protracted war during the postwar years.
We went to Cu Chi War Tunnel, 70 km north-west of Ho Chi Minh City (=Saigon). The village of Cu Chi was in an area where many disastrous battles of the war were waged. Napalm and Agent Orange had destroyed the countryside where the U.S.A. army, hundreds of thousands strong, were stationed in order to slaughter the Viet-Cong (=the Vietnamese People's Liberation Army). The guidebook says that the underground network has a total length of 250 km. Of course, this was the largest Vietnamese military structure during the war. Half of our group (20) were actually taken to a reconstructed Tunnel made for purposes of education or foreign sightseers. The entrance is so small that it seems very hard for large-sized Americans to enter. It was actually made tiny on purpose so that an American wouldn’t be able to get in.
We forced our way into the Tunnel and crawled along the tiny passage on all fours. I was the second person of the group to be positioned in the Tunnel, without no way of turning back halfway. We were made to creep very slowly and arrive at the exit later than I supposed. The distance was only 75 meters, but I suspected that it had taken 20 minutes to reach the destination. Really only five minutes. It was impossible to move on in the Tunnel for two or three hours because we had a tight schedule.
Actually the 250 km (=Kyoto to Hiroshima?) Tunnel Complex possessed headquarters, conference rooms, factories, living areas, wells, kitchens, sleeping chambers, storerooms, hospitals, air-raid shelters, etc. Vietnamese people were so prudent that they tried not to emit any smoke above the Tunnels with the air-holes being away from the kitchens while people were cooking. As a result of this, the Americans were almost unable to find the location of the Tunnels. The entrances were covered with pieces of wood, leaves or twigs.
When American troops did chance to discover a Tunnel, there were many devices and snares intended for flooring Americans in many spots in the Tunnels. Inundation and tear gas tactics were not efficacious against the united Vietnamese people. In addition, Vietnam was able to receive enormous amounts of food and humanitarian aid from democratic organizations all over the world. Finally, Vietnam became one, and all the Vietnamese people made every effort to win a victory over the U.S.A. on the principle that "Nothing is more precious than freedom and independence" (the words of Ho Chi Minh).
I have learnt a lot from the Cu Chi Tunnel trip. I know Vietnam is still poor, compared with Japan. But, now they have hopes and dreams for their country’s future; I am wondering, on the contrary, if we have hopes and dreams in the same way they have. Personally, I really love the smiles of the people who we have encountered wherever we have been to Vietnam . What country has the right to attack Vietnam and relieve Vietnamese smiles in the future? I want to proclaim that no country has. However, I wonder what the U.S.A. has learned from their defeat in the Vietnam War. American President, Mr. Bush! Cursed history should never repeat itself.