Seeing Vietnam: Encounters of the Road and Heart
Susan Brownmiller, best known for feminist writings (Against Our Will; Femininity), first visited Vietnam in 1992 after travel restrictions for ordinary Americans were lifted. Traveling from Hanoi to the Mekong Delta, Brownmiller praises Vietnam's literacy rates while noting widespread malnourishment and the massive failure of large-scale state enterprises. She notes the continuing differences between north and south and the ecological damage caused by the war, integrating these observations into lengthy discussions of hotels, meals and plumbing, and accounts of people met and sights seen.
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Good morning this is Focus five eighty four Memorial Day 1994 we are here live today. Normally we run a taped set of programs on holidays such as Memorial Day but we decided that we would do a live program for you this morning here on the information advantage. My name is Alex Ashlock filling in for David Inge Mike Pritchard is at the control board. In this hour the first hour of the show this morning we will be talking with writer Susan Brownmiller. She has written a book entitled seeing Vietnam Encounters of the road and heart. And she joins us on the telephone this morning good morning.
Good morning Alex.
Thanks for joining us today. We would like to include our listeners in the conversation during this hour. And you can participate by calling 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 3 3 3 WRAL or 1 800 1:58 9 4 5 5 800 1:58 W. while. Well Susan Brownmiller was a network television news writer during the Vietnam War and she has traveled extensively in Asia. Her writing on Vietnam has appeared in several publications including travel and leisure Audubon and the Los Angeles Times magazine as well as the New York Times travel section and the nation.
In November of 1992. And this would be after the U.S. government lifted travel restrictions obviously Travel and Leisure magazine sent Susan Brownmiller to Vietnam on a tourist visa and the piece she produced from that visit prompted an immersion in Vietnam and Vietnamese history and current events and rekindled an interest from the 1960s and the result is seeing Vietnam which is a traveller’s journey it’s part reportage and memoir and also an adventure story in a way and I thought as we begin the hour here we could talk about your thinking going to Vietnam
in 1992 your original experiences with the country came during the 1960s as I think that that would be the case for many people when you were working for ABC as as a news writer and editing and cutting up footage that came back or reports on the war in the preface to your book you write that as you went to Vietnam in 1992 hopefully seeing the country with fresh and open eyes you had actually checked out as you put it checked out emotionally from Vietnam long before that during during the war I wonder if you could elaborate a little bit
on what you meant by that and how you how you felt going back to Vietnam or going to Vietnam for the first time.
I don’t think my experience checking out emotionally from that war was that unusual. Everyone I speak to seems to have had a moment during the war when they said I can’t take it. And I stopped reading the news stories. It’s tough watching the television footage. For me it happened after 68 the Tet offensive.
I thought that the war would end speedily after 68. I really did. Who knew that that Richard Nixon was going to extended it all the way to 73. So I thought OK it’s over it’s over it’s over. The North Vietnamese won and I don’t have to think about all this death and destruction anymore. So I turned to other things. And for me it turned into the feminist movement and a very public career as a feminist writer. But I noticed that other people also just stopped following it. And then 73 all of a sudden there were these Paris peace talks and I thought to myself what this war was still going on. And
in 1975 when the communist entered Saigon I thought again oh my god I thought that happened already.
So I think it was necessary psychologically for me and for many other people to shut out the horror in my case it was because I was so against our government fighting a war in Southeast Asia so against our government battling a small third world country that I have never been so opposed to my government in my life.
And it’s not pleasant to have these feelings of not being patriotic towards your own country. But that’s what that war did to me and it was easier for me psychologically to just put Vietnam on the backburner.
But you know I couldn’t forget. And I needed emotional closure. So when the travel restrictions lifted in 72 I thought this will do it for me.
I will resolve all those painful memories in my head and see a country in peace. I never wanted to see that country at war. I mean I saw it enough to know that Coulon footage but to see it in peace time I thought would be a very resolute resolution.
So I went and I got a magazine assignment because since I’m a journalist I knew I’d be happier if I could force myself to go out and just be more professional and ask a lot of questions so you know there’s always a tendency to kind of hide in your hotel room or just sit tight. It’s hard to throw yourself into you know a foreign country and just you know experience everything you know during every waking hour. But with this magazine assignment how to go out there how to speak to people and oh boy I got more out of Vietnam than ever
and I never did get it.
It is difficult to get anything anyway. Get it a way that it isn’t going to pick up a couple of.
Hours I think you’re going to get away with it.
Kitty kitty kitty kitty kitty kitty kitty. Anything we can expect to get the benefit of the they to.
Form of emotional closure you know veterans have been doing that veterans have to link back to Vietnam for the last six or so years I guess but the rest of us felt that war perhaps as keenly as for that. And I think we all need a trip to Vietnam you know.
Did you feel that you went through differently having been such an opponent of the war than someone who might have been either someone who might have fought in the war or maybe had not been opposed to the war would feel going back I mean maybe that’s an obvious question but.
Well the obvious answer Alex is yes I did feel different. I felt I felt guilt because I accept what my country did and I felt like a representative of America but I felt that my record was clean.
I had opposed the war from the beginning I knew it was a dirty war and I think I went over obviously with fewer conflicts.
First of all I didn’t lose any buddies there and that would have been real tough. And also if you’ll forgive me for injecting a feminist point so early in our conversation I didn’t suffer from that machismo feeling that I’m on the losing side here.
So you know I’ve got to try to make it up when I’m there. I didn’t feel like a loser in Vietnam. I came in peace and I didn’t realize I was going to do this.
But I also came to apologize and I had a moment in Hanoi in a public park when I was surrounded by some women and I had joined a tidy class in the park.
You know it was there and I thought oh what the hell I’ll just join in here. And afterwards the women surrounded me and we were just talking. They wanted to know if there were exercise classes like this in the parks in America and we were having a delightful conversation until one of them said to me through her daughter who spoke a little English she said Do you like her. They all wanted that. So I started to give the classic answer that you tell people in their cities or your city is so beautiful you know which Hanoi happens to be as a matter of fact.
And then I found myself saying I am so sorry for what my country did to your country. It just came out like a public apology and a park group of women and I burst into tears. And the daughter who was translating for her mother and the other women said well they understand and all of that made it worse for my tears.
I think I wasn’t asking for their forgiveness but I kind of was asking for their forgiveness and these women gave it to me. They said they understood they understood it was not me they understood it was my government.
Identities are wonderful about that of separating Americans whom they want to visit their country. All they really like Americans is they were able to separate Americans just ordinary folks from foreign policy a terrible decade. But knowing all that just made me cry more so I ran from the park.
That moment was something that you had never anticipated anticipate anticipated that would have happened when you visit Vietnam.
And no I don’t think I worked that out in my head and I am not a particularly emotional person. You know I was traveling with a photographer for Travel and Leisure.
The two of us went together and she broke down and cried in a way outside her way at a very famous pagoda called Sheean pagoda because they have a modern shrine there to the first monk who immolated himself in Saigon in the early 60s. You know the Buddhists of the south of the southern republic that we propped up were discriminated against violently during our war there. We put in a Catholic
zem go. I’m sorry I was going to pronounce it wrong here a little nosie and CM and he promptly favored his coreligionists and gave them all the best jobs in the government and the army. They collected all the real estate and the Buddhists began to protest and finally they arrived at a very very difficult strategy difficult for them and difficult for us to understand when they began to burn themselves publicly. And the first Buddhist monks who did this went from Camp Dakota to Saigon in a little British
Austin and then doused himself with gasoline himself on fire.
Well his fellow as you know the other Buddhist monks started chanting Buddhist monks becomes a martyr because they wanted religious parity within their own country.
That is why 90 percent of the population.
So they had alerted Malcolm Brown who then worked for the Associated Press and he photographed this extraordinary event this public burning and that picture was distributed around the world. So at 10 Mubako do they have a car that took this man to quote icon and inside the windshield they taped reproduction of the Malcolm Brown photograph.
So the photographer I’m traveling with starts to photograph very professionally photographed the car from all angles. I went away because she was doing her thing. I went away and I came back. She you know she’d been gone a long time and went back and she was lying across the car crying.
So that was her moment to let some of Vietnam’s sorrow out of her system.
And I wonder if it would be possible for any American to go to Vietnam you say that the Vietnamese people loved to have Americans visit. Can any American go there without taking some kind of feelings about the war. It seems like that would be impossible.
I think it’s impossible. I think if. Well I know that there are Americans who want to go to Vietnam now because they still want to fight the war in a way they want to win this time. You’re like the Rambo thing but not necessarily Rambo style but there are Americans who would like to go back now and do in peacetime what they could not accomplish in war which is change the government and build capitalism. This may happen with or without you know this could happen because this may be what the Vietnamese want but there’s a name for this and it’s called a strategy of peaceful evolution and it gets some of the Vietnamese I mean it
certainly gets the government Vietnamese government Vietnamese a little paranoid because they know that some people might be coming to their country to change their government.
We’re talking this morning during this hour of focus 580 with Susan Brown Miller and no more discussing her new book seeing Vietnam encounters of the road and heart. It’s published by HarperCollins. We’d like to hear from you today as well and you can call us at 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 3 3 3 W I L L or 1 800 2 2 9 4 5 5 800 1:58. W O L L and we do have a caller on the toll free line line number four from Indiana. Good morning.
Good morning. Ms. Miller I guess my question for you regarding the review in The Times Book Review May 15th written by Arnold Isaacs which I assume you had an opportunity to see.
Unfortunately I had an advance opportunity to see it. Yes it got to my publisher about a week in advance. I’m very familiar with that review. Are you going to write a reply. I did. Instantly I wrote applies. You know when I saw that I felt you know I know what a hatchet job is. I thought it was the most extraordinarily skillful hatchet job I’ve ever read. What a pity that it happened to happen to a book of mine you know so I couldn’t be objective about it. Why the New York Times Book Review sent my book which is about traveling to Vietnam in peacetime to a former war correspondent who still hasn’t resolved a lot of stuff in his life. I
do not know. I wrote a response instantly and because I wrote it so instantly the next morning I woke up and said oh wait. And I wrote a second response and said Please disregard yesterday’s letter. This is the one I hope you print and don’t worry I won’t send one every day but I thank you so much for you know for asking me about that. It was pretty hard to hold my head up after that review because he lied so much he said I went to Vietnam and never asked any questions of anybody. I did nothing but ask questions up and down that country. Oh where is their life after getting slaughtered like that in a review. You know I guess there must
be. I keep thinking other people suffer far worse tragedies in life including everything that happened to Vietnam you know. So I figure I can survive an assault like this in print.
Well I I’m not I haven’t read your book and I’m not particularly familiar with Mr. Isaacs and I do know that when there are reviews that the writer disagrees with the times provides an opportunity for for a reply and I don’t know how long that’s going to take but I did think that some people have probably seen those reviews leave my fellow listeners to his radio station it be worthwhile giving you the benefit to respond to that because we really haven’t talked too much about your book.
But you know your troubles in Vietnam I have not seen a review and I don’t know whether you could maybe. Susan tell us a little bit more about what that review said. I mean we got a copy of your book but in a lot of times we do when we’re preparing for these programs we work with a book and we also have seen some of the reviews but we did not see that read.
I don’t think my publisher they are in any hurry in sending that one out with the book. No I don’t think they would have sent a review out. Well what I the quote from it. What was the gist of it.
Well he he seemed incensed that I talked about things like the hotels the restaurants and physical descriptions of the country which he called sightseeing. He kept referring to me as a tourist. And the implication was that tourists write about Vietnam. It’s only for old war correspondents like him. You know they have a lock on it. They can write about Vietnam and he seemed most incensed that when I described a room in the Continental Hotel in Saigon which I described quite beautifully I think
as the former war correspondents hotel you know and I use a wonderful line there that there was an there’s an outside. There was an outside terrace at the ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever figure that they’re going to ever get the thing I like I hope get to believe that she could
Know if it is a lot of reports simply reported from the Sarasota Continental and this fellow made it one of them anyway I say in my book I said.
The terrace was the place where the war correspondents flocked in this for too many seasons that may have been one of whom are annoying. But anyway I describe the rules now and my room had a VCR and there was a mini bar you know with all the peanuts and stuff and there was some bars of Swiss chocolate. So he talks to like the 20 other war correspondents in this review and says well others will be bemused as I am that a Continental rooms now have a you know a VCR. This wasn’t how it was in my day.
That was like his day was the only day you know that war was the active part of it not the dirty tricks that came when the Kennedy administration but the Johnson and Nixon part of that war was that 10 years. And for him to think that that is the sum total of Vietnamese history this is a country with a history of more than 2000 years just shows that American arrogance. He also used a quote of mine to hang me with. And I’m a professional enough to know exactly what he was doing when I was that case and
I went out of my way to visit. I wanted to go to one battlefield in the battlefield I chose was case on case on that day. Because it was the most painful American campaign it turned into a siege and then eventually a withdrawal of the American forces. But in the meantime there was an air assault called Operation Niagara or General Westmoreland that just rained bombs down on the valley because the North Vietnamese were surrounding the base. And somewhere between 10000 or maybe 15 or 20 Vietnamese died in this incredible air assault and during the siege of that base
although it’s still unclear perhaps a thousand Americans.
So I went to son and I met some people from an ethnic tribe called the. Who but the Americans and the French used to call them the brute. So I call them the Rubin. Everyone knows which tribe talking about.
And I was with the guys and you know in front of the guides the people did not talk as freely as they did if the guards were out of the way.
But in this case the brood speak their own language. Some of them know a little Vietnamese but surely they didn’t know English. So one of the guys is saying to me ask them questions ask them whatever you want. So I found this one guys one old guy this great face he looked like he’d seen everything. And I said OK.
My question is What did you do during the war. Provocative question. And he looks at the Gods and looks at me and he says I stay here and farm. Now I understood this answer.
This answer was I’m not going to say anything in front of these guides or government guides. I would like to tell you perhaps that I worked on your American side. If he did or I would like to tell you that I was just secretly a calm person and I killed people who looked like you you know whatever it was that he could have said he was not going to say and I respected that you know.
So I write in my book is a politic answer. Well the room ran few words both sides of the fence. This guy wants to tell me he farmed all right. And then I say in my book I couldn’t think of another question to ask. What was the point. So this reviewer picked that sentence out couldn’t think of another question and goes on this riff of she couldn’t think of another question where he made feel that way.
Yes he does.
I think they are. And I don’t want to have you spend all your time on this reconciliation program talking about his here because I don’t think it would be fair but he does make this point. And from what you’ve just said I think it really clarifies the issue that Americans tend to go places and they have answers for people as opposed to listening to people and getting their responses.
Well I mean he also That’s one of the things he says about me that I was telling them about their country. This is not true in the letter that I wrote and I’m sure they’ll have to publish it. I said that I have a style of journalistic inquiry where I conducted an informal dialogue and I shoot out something that’s a little provocative and I get responses that.
And certainly in the two cases that he distorted one was when I talked to the wonderful fellow living in the village of Hoyte on who said to me that he wondered whether he should join the orderly departure program and try to get to the United States because he had been an American a translator for the Americans during the war and he was unemployed because they were not government wasn’t going out of its way with 20 percent unemployment to give jobs to people they considered their enemies.
So Lee asked me if he thought I should come if he should come to the United States or if he should wait because the embargo was lifted this was just before. Wouldn’t American businessmen come to Vietnam and wouldn’t they want somebody who spoke perfect colloquial English.
And I said Yeah I said my best advice is to stay put. Things are getting better aren’t they. I believe that. I believe they are. So that is what I told them. Yes stay put. I know a lot of Vietnamese who are here now who aren’t doing so well. And I my best advice to him was stay put. And I write this in the form of dialogue in my book and I stand by that.
Another thing was with the Buddhist monks who were telling me about the repression from 1975 to 85 I mean they were repressed during our war by the South Vietnamese government that we supported.
And then when the communists won they were repressed yet again by the Communists. You know any authoritarian government doesn’t like these Buddhists these Buddhists go their own way they are stubborn irascible. You can see why the authoritarian government doesn’t like the Buddhists. So the Buddhists and I were discussing things and I was trying very hard to figure out how much of a case the Buddhist had. Because they said one thing that I knew was wrong. They told me that they felt my guides were police and I had had enough private discussions with my guides.
No they were not police. One was a disaffected calmness he’d quit the Communist Party and he was now working as a tour guide because you know you get American tips are going to get it’s in for an hour or two.
So he was trying to build a little you know think for himself being another of my guides was so anti the system I was shocked at how freely he talked to me about it. So when the Buddhist told me that my guides were police I said no no they’re not they’re not police I know this. I know this.
So we had very you know on both sides we were trying to evaluate evaluate every conversation I had in Vietnam. People hurled information at me that astonished me and I had to process it and figure it out. I mean I truly went to Vietnam not understanding that the modern day Buddhists were still being persecuted. I also did not understand the level of paranoia in that country that would lead these Buddhists to assure me that my guides were police when I knew that they had gone too
far there in it and I don’t want it because I thought of go ahead and really this is an area I wanted to pursue anyway.
Well here’s another case. I was a photographer and I were having dinner in our hotel and I noticed that an Asian fellow was staring at us and eavesdropping very very noticeably listening to our conversation. So I figure OK this is a hotel. This guy is Asian. He’s got to be at Forest I decided in my head that he’s a Korean tourist why I don’t know why he was stoppie he didn’t you know I didn’t think Vietnamese. I thought him and he was also eating a lot. I mean it was. Which maybe. Sure he was a tourist because we were eating a lot. You know. So I pegged him as a Korean tourist but since he was staring at
us and he was sitting alone I said Would you like to join us. And he came right over. Inside of 30 seconds he told us his entire story. He was not Korean. He was Vietnamese. He was a journalist. He had worked for Associated Press in the last days of the war in 75 just before he left or was expelled. You know it all happened simultaneously when the communists took Saigon and three months after the communists took Saigon there was a knock on his door and he was arrested and he was sent to a re-education camp for 10 years to hear this story. You know when you’re just finishing your dinner in the hotel he’s like oh wow I got Listen to this fellow
and his story was absolutely accurate because Maggie Steber the photographer had worked for AP. So she started mentioning names he knew those he started talking about people they knew in common. And since I had worked for ABC I started mentioning ABC correspondents and he knew their names too. So I believe this guy this guy was telling the truth and he talked about 10 years of hard labor in a re-education camp. And what they did in these early education classes they sent them to they were set up in areas where there had been a lot of shells bombs unexploded bombs know live shells. And part of the job that
these people had was to detonate the shells and remove them. He had survived that he was released with so just he said the clothes on his back and he became a cyclo driver. You know it’s one of those bicycles that you know the driver peddles and you sit in a little carriage. So he tells us his whole story and I am just reeling from the story that he wanted us to know. He wanted us to know it.
And then he left and then we left and I went back to my room or my room happened to be across the hall from his room and he was coming out of his door when he sees me approaching his door is what he thinks. And he gets paranoid he says What are you doing here. I said oh wait where my room is across the hall here. I had to show him my key. Even though he had had the guts to tell me the story when he saw me near his room you know he thought oh is he an agent. Why is he writing down my room number. Where will the police come again.
You know so I began to understand that one of the legacies of not only the war but of an authoritarian communist government that punished people. On the other side was that there is a tremendous residue of paranoia that goes along with an extraordinary ability to communicate information to foreigners so that we understand their country both things simultaneously.
Bummer. I have one question and I’m going to hop off this being Memorial Day in a time for commemorating who lot of people who have died in wars and then you’re obviously familiar with the amount of the tragedy that took place in Vietnam and because of the earlier book rape it seems to me that there’s a male war mongering mentality whether it’s against other countries or as you note in your book against women. Could you somehow thrust home to some degree this
issue of the absurdity of the way our culture and other cultures have older aggressiveness. I don’t know if that something that you got with in her book review certainly doesn’t give us any clues today. And I appreciate you being on program Good luck.
Oh you wish. Oh I wish there were more people like that color around America. You know I feel a lot better. I rely on my feminist interpretation. I do not understand why governments that are mostly men made up as men although. All right. Margaret Thatcher in England seemed to feel that conducting warfare is somehow so central to their ego which is to me you know machismo it’s a misguided sense of masculinity.
I always identify with the other side. I mean and I do think this has to do with my deep feminist philosophy. But boy you know if there’s a war I think of it that I don’t I don’t identify with the aggressor.
I really don’t identify with the people defending their homeland and I identify with the people who don’t have the fantastic technology at their disposal and this reemergence of Buddhism.
You know I mean I had to admit it was happening and I certainly had a say to myself. Yes. They want to be Buddhists they have a certain they certainly have a right to be Buddhist.
Well just as in Europe for five hundred years ago where you had the church controlling what the church was the main landlords for the entire country and for a moment. And now of course the Church felt that it was being oppressed when its wounds were taken away from it. But this was essential for the development of democracy. And I see that the same thing is the case in the Southeast Asian countries.
Well I think. All right. I don’t. But it is not my impression that the Buddhist church had so much good land. It seemed to me that what the Hanoi government and all governments quarrel with the Buddhists was that it was a battle for who was controlling the minds of the people I think and Buddhists are pretty anti-authoritarian and communist governments don’t take to people who don’t accept who don’t you to the hierarchy Confucian values as we know because this point was made or has been made many times about China Confucian
values or more hierarchical and they fit better with a one party system. Yeah go ahead you say something else.
Well you certainly hope that more people would draw some lessons from this great conflict especially since our current government today seems to be gearing up for another war in Korea which I’m afraid would be even more devastating than either the first Korean War or the Vietnam War.
Well I hope not. I know we’ve been rattling the Sabers Korea. North Korea doesn’t have any friends in the world.
Boy I’ve got Albania. I don’t know. I don’t know. The Kims are quite a team father and son there. I just would hope that Clinton wouldn’t be that dumb as to what’s he going to do knock out nuclear installation land the Marines and kill him. I don’t think so. I think it’s saber rattling. I hope I’m right.
We have another caller on line number two and we’ll go there next. Good morning.
Good morning. I was interested in Berman’s comments for disapproving of U.S. policy of dropping bombs from the Marines. Would that mean that she would similarly disapprove of the current Clinton administration’s policies and dropping bombs and Serbs and what we to do more that is sending the Marines to Haiti.
I do agree with her. You know I am not for sending an American armed force or for dropping American you disapprove of both of these policies. Haiti is a little is a little different but I know I’m I’m consistent about this. I don’t feel that it is America’s role to be the policeman of the world. And I feel really strongly about that. In the former Yugoslavia I really feel. I mean I’ve thought about it a lot.
I’ve listened to people like Brant Scowcroft you know say hey this could become another Vietnam. It’s easy to get in. How do we get out.
What about the claim moral basis. And is there for a lot of women’s groups were quite we should intervene because of the raping that was.
Yes. So they were. And I found myself arguing with women’s groups in Croatia as a matter of fact the strenuous correspondence by fact some women’s groups in Croatia were were. Calling for American help on behalf of their Bosnian sisters. This is very painful for me as a leading theorist of rape and war and other forms of rape. I my book is now translated into Croatia against our will is translated into Croatian and it’s already in Slovenia and the rape of Bosnia. Oh boy. I mean we
have like seven minutes left and we really want to get into this. All I want to say is that for the people in Bosnia they did not understand that what was happening to them was very typical of rape and warfare. They truly felt what what’s happened to them was a special genocidal thing engineered by the Serbs and by Serb generals you know as an analyst of rape and warfare.
I did not see I do not see the rape of women in Bosnia as appreciably different from the rape of Chinese women and King by the Japanese.
One last question and he says yes. MySpace is what happened to the peace movement for the 70s. The girls we continued to the disease the pre-war a nuclear movie against Reagan Bush were very big. With regard to the U.S. force and the threat to use force I heard from yeah yeah right. The peace movement and the peace museums and all that.
Yeah you tell me well what’s happened to them. I don’t know why are we all so proud here. What’s happening what’s happening in this country. Why are these people so afraid to speak up anymore. What has happened to our country.
Why is it so indeed illegal was just partisan politics I don’t I don’t understand I don’t understand. I think we are truly in a wave of conservatism on one side board I’m on the other side. I think a lot of people used to have good political values are just saying oh boy I get it. The economy here is rough. I got I got her and some more money and I’m unemployed.
I don’t know what’s happening here or is it because the Clinton is a Democrat and I just don’t want to criticize a Democrat.
Well as someone who’s supported of Clinton I feel that the fellow has been trashed on so many fronts. I’m terrified that he is going to fall into. He seems to be falling into that same machismo trap as other presidents thinking well maybe I’ll gain some popularity in the polls if I carry the big stick. You know if I bomb things I mean this is what I am concluding is this what you.
Well I think so. Except that I think maybe to a large extent Bruce shows a lot of the peace movement is the buzz in the 70s and 80s with encryption program because here we have a Democratic president doing many of the same things that you are at least consistently disapproving of and you don’t hear.
I am as puzzled as you are and I’m really glad that you raised this question. I think we are living in profoundly nonpolitical times. I think people because of all of those of us who really did commit ourselves our full lives you know to movements for social change I think are very discouraged these days. And I think a lot of people I know who used to be political activists are saying oh everybody is corrupt.
I’ll just work on my own private life and tend to my garden. You know. Save some money for my kid’s college education. I don’t know. I find few people who are capable of acting on their sense of moral and political outrage these days. Everybody seems primly disaffected thinking they’re all crooks.
Well let’s talk with one more person before we have to wrap up line number four. Good morning. Hello. Hello.
Yes. I just wanted to make a comment about the abuse of power. I feel it has nothing to do with gender and that women who become leaders of their nations are just as apt to wield their power in an oppressive manner as men. If you can ask the Palestinians about Golda Meir ask the Chinese about May or say Tung’s why from the Cultural Revolution. Pakistanis Moslems and Sikhs
about Indira Gandhi. Margaret Thatcher had nuclear armed submarines flying off the coast of Argentina with the implicit threat that she would use them if the war in Falklands went wrong. Queen Victoria Queen Elizabeth Catherine the Great Power can can corrupt anyone and is it’s not. It’s not just men.
I wouldn’t argue with you and you certainly had all those names right. Yeah I wouldn’t argue with that. It’s just that I would suggest that the women at this time in history who were capable of playing the man’s game enough to survive in politics and indeed to thrive in politics are naturally going to follow the male model. Margaret Thatcher is a clear example of that. You know she squashed the labor movement in England and he rattled her sabers when those ships steamed into the Falklands is absolutely right. Let’s not get into Israel because I’m an admirer of gold in my ear and I tend to think that Israel is embattled too. You
know in the Mideast I thought I want to say I say well we were at the end of the hour and the callers no longer at least whether he’s still on the line.
But I had to cut him off because we have come to the end of the time. But I do want to thank you for spending part of your day with us today and it was an interesting discussion and thanks again for joining us.
Alex is a very lively discussion and got some good people there in your neck of the woods.
Well thanks again Susan Brown Miller is the author of seeing Vietnam Encounters of the road and heart. It’s a hard bound book published by Harper Collins and if you would like to read more you should be able to find it in your bookstore or in your library.