Authorities in a district in Ho Chi Minh City have seized all the wartime photos that had guns replaced by flowers, sparking strong public reactions in the past few days.
Le Truong Hai Hieu, deputy chair of the District 1 People’s Committee, said on Sunday that the district has confiscated all the photos in the so-called exhibit “Hoa Noi Chien Truong” (Flowers on the Battlefield).
The display was shut down yesterday.
The “exhibit,” opening on April 17, was held at the florist’s Flower Box, located at 74E Hai Ba Trung Street in District 1.
As observed by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, the debatable “exhibit” comprised a number of wartime photos downloaded from the Internet and retouched with flowers covering the guns and barbed wire fences.
According to inspectors, 11 large-size photos and 21 smaller pictures from the “exhibit” were hung around the shop at the time of their arrival.
These crude Photoshopped works have sparked fury among netizens in the past few days, who found the images weird and ridiculously inappropriate.
Hieu added that the flower shop owner was not present during the district’s inspection, whereas the manager failed to present a permit to hold a photo exhibition and related legal documents.
The shop manager, who could not present his identity card either, was summoned to the local police station.
Nguyen Thi Van, head of the Flower Box shop’s marketing department, told Tuoi Tre that the exhibition was meant to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the country's reunification, and to turn the bloody battlefield into a gorgeous flower forest to relieve war-associated sufferings.
Vietnam will celebrate its reunification on April 30. The country was reunified on April 30, 1975. She added during this time, her shop is deducting VND50,000 (US$2.3) from any flower bills to donate to Agent Orange victims.
“The exhibition was intended for internal use only, so we did not seek a permit. We downloaded the wartime pictures from foreign websites and clearly cited their sources,” Van explained.