Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Mourning General Giap

Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Mourning General Giap

Article excerpt

General Vo Nguyen Giap, the hero of Dien Bien Phu, died at 102.

In his illucid languor, sclerosis and glassy-eyed movements, did

he remember the French defeat and the Banh mi he ate in celebration

with Ho? Did he think of McNamara, who, in the end, couldn't muster

or master his own numbers, and shook the general's waxy hand anyway?

Was Giap angry, befuddled or serene as the young gays took to the streets

of Ho Chi Minh City in tight jeans for their rainbow parades

-a queer and homo-sexy twist on old Saigon's flaming spirit?

Did Giap regret what he said about war's singular trap: that losing tens

of thousands means little, a valedictory no American could ever utter,

but perhaps believed. And on that score, was he right, this stooped, slight

and ruthless man, still wearing the gold and red amulets of his triumph? …

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