It’s an iconic 1980s song, played in the stereo systems of many a nerdy college kid over the past decades. Along with Hanif Kureishi’s work, apprently it’s among the best commentary on the Thatcher era England. It was also one of the themes of this classic Aaron Spelling drama. And now, it seems to be a great commentary on Bangladeshi political scene. Reading the Economist’s recent editorial and news story on Bangladesh, I kept recalling Morrissey’s matter-of-fact statement: when you say it’s gonna happen “now”, well, when exactly do you mean? see I’ve already waited too long, and all my hope is gone.
My childhood was spent in a highly politicised and very much left-centre environment. Weekend breakfasts at our house involved shouting matches about Mujib’s decisions in 1971, or Khaled-Taher-Zia in 1975, or the Menon-Motia split in 1967, or about the best way to oppose Ershad, or the Soviet role in Afghanistan, or whether Bangladesh could have been a Vietnam had the Indians not intervened.
I never paid much attention to the Vietnam War until we moved overseas. Suddenly, Vietnam was everywhere. Platoon, Rambo 1 and 2, Born on the 4th of July, and Full Metal Jacket came out within a few years of each other. Tour of Duty was a big hit on the TV. A -Team and MacGyver had Vietnam backstories. There were lots of Vietnam related songs, from Born in the USA to Khe Sanh.
I lapped up the pop culture, but somehow never got into the War itself. I knew the broad outline of the conflict of course, from the Viet Minh and Dien Bien Bhu to the Tet Offensive and Agent Orange. But somehow, until now, I hadn’t read a serious book on the conflict. It’s changing now. More on that, later. For now, enjoy Jimmi.
(Thanks NM for getting me interested)