The Book of Lies

Woman fishing limpets (Da Nang, Vietnam, 1995)

I was walking on the beach in Da Nang, Vietnam, when I noticed it. At first I was stunned. A giant limpet on a rock. When I had a better look at it, I realized it was not a shellfish, but a woman fully dressed woman in the sea, with the traditional Vietnamese hat. As it was explained to me, she was fishing limpets. Confusing.

As confusing was the way I ended up in Vietnam. A few months earlier I was sitting in a Cajun restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin with M, a guy originally from Bangladesh. I remember I had ordered blackened fish. He kept telling me about this incredible trip he had in Vietnam, the lonely beaches, the people, the food. I never really though about going there, but I become so intrigued by M description that after a few week I bought the ticket to Saigon.

The confusing part of the story is that after some time, a common friend of us told me that M had never been in Vietnam, that he was just a pathological lair.

So I ended up in Vietnam as a consequence of a lie. Not an uncommon experience, after all. The Vietnam war started as a consequence of a deliberate lie of the American government. The so called battle of Tonkin Gulf, the sole basis of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which was the entire justification for the United States' war against Vietnam, was in fact a lie. And thousands of American soldier ended up in Vietnam as a consequence of a lie.

Exactly like me, except I did not have to kill anyone.

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