Dear Diary

We are still here. meaning still in the same place and also still alive – if I allow myself to write jokingly about it.

It has been a long time since we have fought or been close to the battle and there haven’t been any enemy soldiers in the vicinity of our camp.

We are staying near our own generals, or whatever you call the people in charge of this assembly that isn’t really an army but is better described as a collective of smaller armed groups working more or less autonomously. Yet there is somebody in charge who controls the movements of troops and who is going to advance, who is hiding, who is moving away from the frontlines while making traps and mines and who is doing something wholly different. 

The Dane Getting close to the Vietcong generals
Getting close to the Vietcong generals

I know that we are close to the top. Yesterday Phan took me into some caves and tunnels that were dug out to be hidden bomb shelters. We couldn’t get access to all the rooms and tunnels. Some of the places we were rejected by guards even though we are on the same side. I guess that means that there are secrets in there that are not to be seen by just anyone, which again is why I conclude that we have to be very close to the ones in charge. 

The further away we get from the fighting, the more I think about war in general. This form of complete human mechanical annihilation of ourselves. What is it that drives us to this destruction of each other and to risk our own lives in doing so? 

I went to war to fight for some ideals. To do more for communism and the Vietnamese people than just sitting in a circle in a collective singing songs about peace.

Now I have killed for me ideals. I have fought against superior forces and we have killed together. They have on their side killed, burned and raped their way through this country. 

But the ideals have slipped into the background. There is no room left for idealism when you have your back against the wall. There is only kill or be killed. The ideals that we murder each other over do only exist in the minds of the privileged people who are not here them selves. Once you have killed – all is dead.

The ideal that is worth dying – or killing – for does not exist.

It was so easy back home in Denmark. Some people were pro and others were against communism or the thoughts prevailing in the collectives. Some believed that we could share all our things and others believed that the ones saying that were all freeloaders. Then there were all the people in the middle and those who cared about other things than communism. What all those points of view had in common was that they were easy. There wasn’t really that much at stake. 

It is easy to have opinions about a lot of things when you know that it can’t kill you. I don’t have a lot of opinions left anymore. I don’t think any opinion is going to survive this hell. The only thing I believe is that I am still alive, and I am not even sure about that.

Philosophizing about having ideals, killing and dying

I wish that the big chief with all their opinions would come out here in the jungle and see if they still believed the same things, when they had shot and killed – and watched their friends lying on the ground with their guts hanging out and seen dead women and children in small villages.

I listened a little to the radio the other day. They were saying that the public opinion had shifted so that even more people in America now were against the war. They believed that it was because of all the news about the atrocities of war and all the dead soldiers that kept coming back. 

If they think it is bad seeing dead people on film and in photographs, they should try seeing them in real life. If all the politicians and others who send young people off to war could be in one fight in this war, then I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t have that many opinions anymore either. 

We would have come a long wayIf people in general would just stop having all those opinions about what everyone else should or shouldn’t do. I myself have come to the point where I don’t have any opinions. I don’t think that I dare feel anything anymore either. I am not sure that I have any good feeling left in me. And if I can’t feel anything, then I can’t have any opinions. 

Free me from your damned ideals.

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