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[Video] Highlighting Vietnam's Forgotten Moroccan Soldiers

Vietnam and Morocco have much more in common than you might initially think.

In the 1940s, as Vietnam's battle for independence was heating up, Moroccan soldiers joined the French army as a means of earning money for their families, reports Al Jazeera.

Once war broke out, France sent its Moroccan soldiers to Southeast Asia to help reassert the country's colonial dominance in the region. For years, these young men fought with the French army against Vietnamese dissidents until France exiled Morocco's King Mohamed V in 1953.

Disillusioned and far from home, some Moroccan soldiers then defected from the French forces and joined Ho Chi Minh's fight for independence, turning their weapons against their former commanders. Once the war had ended, some remained in Vietnam, marrying local women and settling with their families in the north.

As the American War raged on, however, some Moroccans began to return home with their families. Starting in 1972, Moroccan soldiers returned with their wives and children to their hometowns, building a new life in the North African nation.

Al Jazeera's 40 Years of Solitude, a 40-minute documentary on these Moroccan-Vietnamese families, tells the story of both those who left and those who stayed. In Morocco, a small group of now elderly Vietnamese women, many of them widows, continue to live as farmers in the countryside. In Vietnam, however, three families who wish to return to Morocco remain trapped in their small farming communities, unable to prove their Moroccan heritage.

[Video via Al Jazeera]

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