|Although Americans think of the second
war in Indochina as their war, the majority of photographers who covered
the American and Saigon government side were, ironically, non-American.
Ten different nationalities are represented among the dead - American,
Australian, Austrian, British, French, German, Japanese, Singaporean, Swiss,
South Vietnamese. In Cambodia, where the foreign photographers received
the recognition and the bylines, equally courageous and frequently equally
distinguished work was done by the Cambodian photographers who worked for
foreign news agencies. After the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975, many of them
were murdered by the Khmer Rouge.
Nor can one fail to note the sacrifice
of the seventy-two photographers, two of them women, who died on the Vietnamese
Communist side. Of their work only a few thousand negatives and prints
survive. Most of their effort was lost because of the unimaginably difficult
conditions under which they labored. One can see, in the fine action photographs
of Luong Nghia Dung or Bui Dinh Tay of the Vietnam News Agency, how talented
many of them must have been. They lie with the millions of Vietnamese who
died to free their nation from the domination of foreigners in the cause
of Ho Chi Minh.
Yet all these photojournalists of Indochina
prevailed in the end. In a war in which so many died for illusions and
foolish causes and mad dreams - 58,000 Americans, a quarter of a million
Vietnamese on the Saigon government side, tens of thousands of Laotians,
a million Cambodians in the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge - these men
and women of the camera conquered death through their immortal photographs.
(Neil Sheehan, REQUIEM)