is a sampling of the current condition of some of the large mammals in Vietnam: 1) The Lesser Short-horned Rhi- noceros- extinct in Vietnam as of 2011. 2) The Indochinese Tiger- an estimated 10-20 left in Vietnam as of 2010. 3)
The Kouprey- a very large ungulate weighing up to 2000 pounds, it was first discovered by the scientific community in 1937, and is now extinct in Vietnam. 4) The Saola- A forest-dwelling bovine found only in Laos and
Vietnam, it was discovered by science in 1992. Only one has been seen in Vietnam in the interim, and it died in captivity. 5) The Asian Elephant- Formerly abundant in Vietnam, there are an estimated 75 wild elephants in the country and they are expected to be extinct there within 10 years. 6) Primates- Five of Vietnam’s 19 primate species are on the list of the world’s 25 most critically endangered primates, including the Golden-headed Langur (about 60 left in the world), Delacour’s Langur (about 200 left), the Gray-shanked Douc (600), the Tonkin Snub- nosed Monkey (250), and the Eastern Black-crested Gibbon (110).
If one absorbs the fact that we committed genocide against the 3.5 million of the Vietnamese people that we slaughtered in the American War (this number being one of the most recent estimates), and ecocide upon the natural environment of Vietnam, and takes into account that there was no reason whatsover for the war, one comes to fully appreciate just how dysfunctional and destructive the human mind and so-called ‘leadership’ can be. It is important to recall that the Vietnam War is not an isolated event. As I wrote about in my previous essay in this series (which can be read online by googling ‘War is God’s Way of Teaching Geography’), just before the destruction of Vietnam we obliterated North Korea; 15 years after Vietnam we were bombing Iraq. Today we are bombing five countries at the same time.
The greatest danger in the world today to the ecological integrity of the biosphere and the sanctity of life is the United States government and the masses of mindless young men who do its bidding, being incapable of thinking for themselves and starving for the identity of the uniform. If that seems like a radical statement, re-read the previous paragraph. At a deeper level the problem is the superstitious, almost religious response of the human mind to external authority. We know power corrupts, but we persist in putting mere mortals in positions of extreme power. The global situation will improve only when we take responsibility for our own financial, ethical and ecological lives, and cease to allow ourselves to be led around by the nose by so-called leaders who are inevitably corrupted by the positions of power into which we ourselves put them.
Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Howard Zinn
Every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people them- selves, for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection….If we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody. Etienne De La Boetie, The Politics of Obedience, written in 1552
History shows that most human beings would literally rather die than objectively reconsider the belief systems they were brought up in. The average man who reads in the newspaper about war, oppression and injustice will wonder why such pain and suffering exists, and will wish for it to end. However, if it is suggested to him that his own beliefs are contribut- ing to the misery, he will almost certainly dismiss such a suggestion without a second thought, Larken Rose, The Most Dangerous Superstition
Dana Visalli is a biologist living in Washington State; email firstname.lastname@example.org, web page http://www.methownaturalist.com,
Film: The Boy with No Face- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2O7Sp-DoPo (full film)
Film: Lighter Than Orange- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSn02VKm6Ek (3 minute trailer; highly recommended) Book: Kill Everything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse (required reading)
Book: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose (on the question of authority)
Essay on Etienne de la Boetie’s book The Politics of Obedience http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard29.html Friendship Village- http://www.vietnamfriendship.org/
VAVA- Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange http://vava.org.vn/?lang=en
RENEW- Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of War- http://landmines.org.vn/