An Irish schoolboy in Dublin, 1968

Red salute to a legendary leader of the Vietnamese people’s war that struck heavy blows against French and US imperialism, General Vo Nguyen Giap! dedicates this excerpt from “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha”, by Roddy Doyle, to Võ Nguyên Giáp.

“The News was boring but sometimes I watched it properly, all of it. I thought that the Americans were fighting gorillas in Vietnam; that was what it sounded like. But it didn’t make any other kind of sense.

The Israelis were always fighting the Arabs and the Americans were fighting the gorillas. It was nice that the gorillas had a country of their own, not like the zoo, and the Americans were killing them for it.

There were Americans getting killed as well. They were surrounded and the war was nearly over. They had helicopters. Mekong Delta. Demilitarized zone. Tet Offensive.

The gorillas in the zoo didn’t look like they’d be hard to beat in a war. They were nice and old-looking, brainy-looking and their hair was dirty. Their arms were brilliant; I’d have…

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