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tv   The Heart Of Darkness  Al Jazeera  April 28, 2018 5:32pm-6:00pm +03

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so they are speaking with us to question their value and counterparts following talks on the syrian conflict in moscow where the guarantor states the so-called us found a process aimed at ending the violence but u.s. led strikes on syria earlier this month exposed further differences between the three powers. while we had building options to please some of the other colleagues are trying to destroy the results of our joint constructive efforts not even following the international law like in the recent operation by the u.s. u.k. and france against syria. at least eighteen people have been killed in syria's largest palestinian refugee camp since the government operation in southern damascus began these are syrian state media pictures from just outside the camp in southern damascus the syrian government is trying to retake several neighborhoods including the camp from isis fighters north korean media is calling five days into korean summit a new milestone the u.s. president though says he'll maintain maximum pressure on pyongyang to get rid of its nuclear weapons. i mean protests lead in the corporate has called on supporters
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to get back out and protest on sunday thousands rallied on friday in the second largest city calling for him to be made a prime minister is trying to widen his campaign to other parts of the country as he pushes for the republican party to give up power or parliament votes on tuesday to choose a new prime minister those are the headlines on al-jazeera folly has the news good and half an hour after rewind. stories generate thousands of headlines with different angles from different perspectives separate the spin from the facts that's why i am going. with the listening on al jazeera.
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hello and welcome again to rewind i'm dating. back in two thousand and six when we launched al-jazeera english we set out to make the kind of documentaries other channels just wouldn't do and here on rewind we're revisiting some of the best of them to find out how they came about and the story behind the story today we're rewinding to two thousand and eight and a disturbing film about one of the most shocking atrocities of the vietnam war the midline massacre it was a major war crime and once it came to light the story sparked international outrage adding to the growing pressure in america and around the world to bring an end to the war in vietnam in march one thousand nine hundred sixty eight charlie company
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a platoon of american infantry landed by helicopter on the edge of the village of me lie near the northern coast of south vietnam the platoon believed the viet cong forces were in the area but they faced no resistance yet five hundred four innocents women children and old men were brutally dragged into ditches and machine guns in the special film reporter josh rushing a veteran of the marine corps himself took a former member of charlie company back to me. i for the first time to meet survivors of that horrific atrocity and now fifty years on from the massacre itself today's rewind is a moving emotional return to the scene of one of the most shocking events of the vietnam war from two thousand and eight here is heart of darkness. these grenades and killed all of. the banks. they ordered all of the families to
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sit or stand in the dish and then they shot after five minutes they shot the second time they heard weeping they shot a third time. for the end of my six year old son and i we lie down and use their rights to cover. three or four bodies were found on the. side. of. this dark on the backs of that day march sixteenth one thousand sixty eight when the dispute an army photographer captured moments of a bloody assault. when the story of what happened leaked out more than a year later there was an investigation twenty five members of charlie company and their officers were charged. with murder there were few trials only one person. was found guilty he was never punished. charges against most of the soldiers were
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benchley dismissed. the what is no is the war that remains an open question. some of them is who slaughtered unarmed villagers from a haunted by their memories. but for those who crawled out of that crush of blood and bone the horror is still fresh and. the only one left when i was eleven years old. is reminded of the dead every day it's his job not only does he bear a deep from a bullet that narrowly missed killing him. he's the director of the museum dedicated to the victims of the massacre and the caretaker of what is left where they live. kong takes us to the place where he lived with his family in an underground shelter a place where they all lay dying how long did you stay down in the shelter.
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from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon surrounded by his memories congress spent years wishing for a way to understand why the soldiers committed the crime that is devastated as life . what would it be like for you to meet a soldier who actually participated in the killing to come back and it meant that here. i would ask him a question. why would he kill ordinary people women and children and women with babies in their bellies we condo's it know it now but he will soon get the opportunity to ask that question kinchela still cherishes that they've a snap shots of the day he left home to join the army it was all he ever wanted to do he was a skinny very young looking nineteen year old that was october one thousand nine hundred sixty six six months later he was in hawaii eagerly learning how to be a soldier and six months after that he was in vietnam. part of charlie company
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first battalion twenty of the fintry charlie company was assigned the task force barker a special unit created to search out and destroy be a cause operating around the central coast. it had been a dispiriting couple of months for the u.s. military the tet offensive the c. to k. song surprised the power that thought it was going to. charlie company the losses have been personal booby traps and mind to take on a third of the comrades one of them the day before so in the morning a mark sixty helicopter machine guns lay down suppressing fire in three people two with orders to kill everything that moved fanned out across the rice paddies and into the hammocks that collectively made up the law. they encountered no resistance whatsoever but perhaps a desire for revenge filled their hearts and clouded their consciences perhaps as a military command that measured victory by body count. perhaps it was a mentality that regarded every vietnamese is less than
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a person really an enemy in embodiment of communist. they've created sidewalks here where you can get a sense of what was going on that morning you see bicycle tracks. and bare feet fling away and then that is a distinct print of an american combat. one of the men who wore those boots is about to set foot here again. i'm josh rushing. kinchela is returning to me live. never before has a soldier who participated in the massacre come back. almost forty years after he was charged with murdering nine be timmy's villagers here he will face is past we landed on the west side but when we pushed into the village we took the the east side where how far off would. we land to far away i was on a first left dan and. we secured. probably the northern part of the parameter
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so you would come around on their kid has trouble recognizing the village today even locating the rice paddy where a chopper landed in a little bit further to the south this day stuck with you. the incident has forty years ago when you were on the helicopter what were your orders hours before we came in was to kill everything in the village and so as you approach the village what did you find and find you know it was quiet i saw a lot of people running off to the north. and i really didn't understand that he has forgotten or blocked a lot of the details. remember the the ditches the canals you know i never saw a canal i never saw this that i never saw it in the village really you know.
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so like a lot of the stuff i was describing never saw no not at all i never even dreamt about. dickinson's he would like to go inside the museum were photographs of me life the time might bring it all back to know or not of us. i still pocket hodges those corridor. with her and she's ok when you have a kid today. i noticed stuff all faster when you went past this one it's not hard for you to say no really what really bothers me is this one. not so much of this shooting but this one point out there for a woman but i want to because. i saw some things that i really like and.
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to me look for a word. the human eyes. and . i just don't like that. right and i don't get it. but you don't get between killing. and dehumanizing so yeah it's just like. there's acceptable ways to kill people and there are ways around. and can claim to use mystified by the granite wall of the dead i never saw that many people in that village and that number in the middle there and it was listed on the wall the entire doki family parents and four children you don't hear . till this moment no one knew that one child your old dodi and two you had escaped horribly wounded she ran away and has never returned
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till now. ironically the only structure in the village has been rebuilt as an example of what was destroyed is the one the long tell your family. how can you ensure cope with having inflicted that kind of pain. he has to defenses the first is dark it's the moment it's the opportunity it's the knowing that. probably nothing's going to happen to me the second is familiar i was a soldier following orders. and i believe that's how i dealt with that. everywhere you can find it was on our letter a letter that's true that you have any hesitation about killing unarmed i people i
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definitely have hesitation about killing one of the issues. that i shoot. i say that i shot. until i realized what was wrong and when you say you shot you mean you shot villagers i'm not going to say whether i sat villages or in a small statement given during the investigation of the massacre another soldier recall seeing ken firing at villagers while saying i don't want to shoot them i don't want to shoot them but i have to because were ordered to bring cannon kong together kinda face called sorrow kong to ask the questions that have tormented him all his life i'm march sixteenth one thousand nine hundred sixty eight at six am u.s. helicopters landed on the rice fields of our beautiful village mr i was here that day back in one thousand nine hundred sixty eight when the helicopters landed. and when the soldiers came they started killing everyone was to kong i was part of
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the americans that landed here in the helicopters and i want to apologize to the people of me i i'm sorry that it happened. i ask myself all the time why did this happen i don't know. an angry feeling are rising up in my heart. the u.s. soldiers killed my mother my older sister and my younger brother. how did you feel when you shot into civilians and killed was it hard for you like i say the only thing i can do now is just apologize for. how many people did you kill that morning i don't know. i don't know i don't know. i don't i don't even know if i killed anyone. that's not a reasonable answer your soldiers put all our people together in one place and shot
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directly at them you said you don't know whether you've killed anyone i cannot accept it. i wasn't what that group i was an outside a village. you stayed back at the edge of our village but my house my family was located at the edge of the village so maybe you came to my house and killed my relatives. in vietnam we had the tradition that we let bygones be bygones but in our hearts we cannot forget if i didn't care i would have come back and i know words don't heal your heart but that's that's all i can do now each man is deeply shaken. you should educate your younger generations your children not to do it again and not to make war anywhere in the world. well those are fine words.
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i wouldn't want war i would stop war today if it was possible. now that i'm older i can see this but when i came to vietnam i was very young i have never acknowledged to any great extent that i was it me why but i'm here today to tell you what was done here was wrong. i can't fix your heart i can't bring your people back to life. i'm sorry. he says he knows one reason charlie company could barter interest groups of unarmed villagers the training they got before we came to be an almost didn't think of the vietnamese as people. think keeps a few photos of the party they held when the murder charges were dropped but they had little to celebrate in the years that followed many of his fellow soldiers members of his company have not survived self examination. and are free to get out
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and kill right going out of the back turned to me and my attorney here. so make sure you are not there now when you're sure i want to. thank you i mean direct order to shoot and if you know as sure as you're me shots of the last everything up front and i know i shot it about right and i went to answer no when i was a little baby i know that i was there. first response for killing between twenty and twenty for twenty five. person. to cut no throats to scalp and to move to hear this. idea that. some like for nardo simpson could not live with those memories even medications could not hold them back i'm certain songs are you know. i can't promise that when
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you come again i'll be. because before you came i get out of this world was the shards of the sun for thirds of. fernando simpson committed suicide in one thousand nine hundred seven. is or a sense of relief that you finally got to confront someone from so long ago. he tells us he's been a terrible night he drank he wept he was angry he was filled. with sorrow he visited the graves of his family and confessed his conflicting feelings standing there murmuring to my father my mother and my brothers and sisters i said that yesterday i met one of our former enemy who killed you but i could not do anything i could not beat him or strike him or kill him because that is against the laws of vietnam qin shi all knows he is not giving kong the answer he needed
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the why some of his questions the way he wanted them answered because there was always a one. way to answer and i was we were following orders does call it your job make it right. no doesn't make it right in your mind for you murder you know. in your heart. i'm going to murder him our king told us he was eager to return to me lied to set the record straight about his unit me lie was an isolated incident for our company. we didn't do that every village we went through he expects the wants his grandchildren to understand that they were not evil that bad things happen in war and throughout our days there was defensive driving to break down and cry.
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but at the last moment. just as our crew was boarding a plane to a different destination ken who had to remain in the airport for a later flight did break down and cry. and our vietnamese translator who lost a brother in the war went back and. there is a cycle in war. aging soldiers expressed sorrow regret they apologized to their victims they say never again they say let us raise our children . to love peace not war but their sons and daughters are already engaged in the next the next killing. they're talking anger hate fear they're taught to kill. and they betray their own goodness and they too will pay. and they will say how could we have done this this.
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should never have happened. and never. is a cycle of war broken. heart of darkness from two thousand and eight a moving and very personal fellow well we're joined now from washington by josh rushing himself a fifteen year veteran of the u.s. marine corps josh thanks for speaking to us on a rewind can you take us back to the moments in the film when you brought together ken she'll along with one of his victims what was that moment like when ken came he came a belief i remember was like straight from the airport that's my first time to meet him you see it on camera me shaking his hands he gets out of the van. we had just planned kind of let's just walk around a bit see what you remember kind of put you back in the place and while doing that kong saw us and came over and started to inquire about you know who killed was and
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where he was there in vietnam and it all started to unfold before our eyes and this really emotional moment that i would not have set up in such a way. because of the motions were so high but we couldn't quite stop it he really seemed to struggle though when you were questioning him he struggled answering your questions what do you think was going on through his head at the time i one hundred percent believe that in order for ken to continue to live his life that he had made a very intentional twice to silo what had happened in vietnam he had the memories but there was no way that he was going to engage with the morality of it i just had the sense that he feels like if he started to even a bit he might not be able to control the flood of emotions and guilt and
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everything else that would come with it and at the time he was only nineteen years old and he was clearly believing that he was just doing this he was following orders so josh let me ask you this as a former soldier yourself how difficult is it when you're actually in the field in your order to do something that you morally disagree with i think. it's easy to sit back and and judge that situation and think that you would act differently but the reality of it is when you go through boot camp they they really break down who you are and they build you back up into this other thing for me it was this u.s. marine that was my identity and so you had this kind of ultimate trust in your leadership that you're not going to be given orders that are illegal and so of course you follow them then you take that person and put it in a place like vietnam where everything you ever learned about
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a moral compass seems to be thrown out of the window there and so you don't you lose a sense of what's right and what's wrong in that that kind of environment and yeah you end up following orders but i still think there's that bit of humanity in you that says that this is it right in the court documents we kynge someone testify that they saw him firing into a crowd of civilians while saying i don't want to do this i don't want to do this so clearly he was struggling with it but the thing about war is we sing young people to fight these wars who don't have the wisdom that we gain as as as older people you know there's a reason there's not a bunch of forty and fifty year olds fighting wars the entire marine corps one hundred seventy two thousand people if you take the average age including all the four star generals in the marine corps the average age is still just over twenty years old that's how many young people at the bottom of that pyramid and now it at my age forty five looking back at a nineteen year old kid that is a child and yet we give them weapons and put them in the most complex situations
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you can imagine and have a make life and death decisions and i make a side note here that actually no are no survivors the village of me i wasn't even a meal i was name something else that was the meal i was a misnomer on an american map so that original village named in survive no one really survived or the village that they conned is a completely different human. that he was before that happened in that shape who he end up becoming the soldiers that we tried to get to go none of them really survived either the ones who didn't kill themselves there weren't really complete pictures of human beings that they would have wanted to be but those who do survive war and get old enough to realize it's atrocities and how wrong it is it's already too late because the next generation the next generation young kids will the there are ready they're fighting the next one well what i've done to me lie i like to think i've done the right thing but. i don't know i will say they were heroes to come out of the lies well i mean i was stopped by an american officer or an officer
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you thompson who literally lowered his helicopter in between americans who were far machine guns into the crowd of civilians vietnamese and he told his door gunner on the helicopter that if they didn't stop fire the americans to open fire on them and that would've been the only case i've ever known of u.s. troops intentionally firing on each other but that's the level it was was that to to stop what he witnessed that day thompson was and his crew that i mean they were heroes to come out of that josh rushing thanks for speaking to us rewind and that's it for this week if you want to see a longer version of that interview you can check out the rewind page at al jazeera dot com but for now until next time you buy. rewind returns with a new series they can bring your people back to life i'm sorry and brian you updates on the best of al-jazeera documentaries. i was the floods and the
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