Our Vietnam War Never Ended, By VIET THANH NGUYEN, APRIL 24, 2015 – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — THURSDAY, the last day of April, is the 40th anniversary of the end of my war. Americans call it the Vietnam War, and the victorious Vietnamese call it the American War. In fact, both of these names are misnomers, since the war was also fought, to great devastation, in Laos and Cambodia, a fact that Americans and Vietnamese would both rather forget.

In any case, for anyone who has lived through a war, that war needs no name. It is always and only “the war,” which is what my family and I call it. Anniversaries are the time for war stories to be told, and the stories of my family and other refugees are war stories, too. This is important, for when Americans think of war, they tend to think of men fighting “over there.” The tendency to separate war stories from immigrant stories means that most Americans don’t understand how many of the immigrants and refugees in the United States have fled from wars — many of which this country has had a hand in.

Although my family and other refugees brought our war stories with us to America, they remain largely unheard and unread, except by people like us. Compared with many of the four million Vietnamese in the diaspora, my family has been lucky. None of my relatives can be counted among the three million who died during the war, or the hundreds of thousands who disappeared at sea trying to escape by boat. But our experiences in coming to America were difficult.”

Source: Our Vietnam War Never Ended – The New York Times

Posted in: Vietnamese in the US, Vietnamese Literature

Leave a Comment (0) →

Review: ‘The Sympathizer,’ a Novel About a Soldier, Spy and Film Consultant, by Sarah Lyall – The New York Times

“There’s a great comic interlude in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel “The Sympathizer” when the unnamed narrator, a Vietnamese Army captain exiled in Los Angeles, critiques the screenplay of a gung-ho Hollywood movie about America’s heroism in the Vietnam War.

By this time, a lot of things have already happened. Saigon has fallen. Chaos has closed in. The captain has secured the bloody, terrifying extraction of his boss, a pro-American general, on one of the last flights out (were there any other kind of flights in Saigon in 1975?). Working as an aide and sometime hit man for the general, now a California liquor-store owner, the captain applies himself to his real job: spying on the general, and other members of the Vietnamese diaspora, for the Communists who seized power back home.”

Source: Review: ‘The Sympathizer,’ a Novel About a Soldier, Spy and Film Consultant – The New York Times

Posted in: Vietnamese Literature

Leave a Comment (0) →

For Viet Thanh Nguyen, Author of ‘The Sympathizer,’ a Pulitzer but No Peace – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — Viet Thanh Nguyen has been wrestling with “Apocalypse Now” for most of his life — as a boy, a college student, a scholar, a writer of fiction. The movie was initially a source of pain, then a puzzle to be understood, and finally an inspiration for his novel about a Vietnamese spy, “The Sympathizer.”

Even now, after a rapturous reception for the novel, his first, that included the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Mr. Nguyen’s feelings about Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 war epic are still somewhat raw.“‘Apocalypse Now’ is an important work of art,” Mr. Nguyen, 45, said in an interview at his house here. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to bow down before it. I’m going to fight with it because it fought with me.””

Source: For Viet Thanh Nguyen, Author of ‘The Sympathizer,’ a Pulitzer but No Peace – The New York Times

Posted in: Vietnamese Literature

Leave a Comment (0) →

Bob Kerrey and the ‘American Tragedy’ of Vietnam – The New York Times

“Los Angeles — EVEN today, Americans argue over the Vietnam War: what was done, what mistakes were made, and what were the lasting effects on American power.This sad history returns because of Bob Kerrey’s appointment as chairman of the American-sponsored Fulbright University Vietnam, the country’s first private university. That appointment has also prompted the Vietnamese to debate how former enemies can forgive and reconcile.What is not in dispute is that in 1969 a team of Navy SEALs, under a young Lieutenant Kerrey’s command, killed 20 unarmed Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, in the village of Thanh Phong. Mr. Kerrey, who later became a senator, a governor, a presidential candidate and a university president, acknowledged his role in the atrocity in his 2002 memoir, “When I Was a Young Man.”Those in the United States and Vietnam who favor Mr. Kerrey’s appointment see it as an act of reconciliation: He has confessed, he deserves to be forgiven because of his efforts to aid Vietnam, and his unique and terrible history makes him a potent symbol for how both countries need to move on from their common war.I disagree. He is the wrong man for the job and regarding him as a symbol of peace is a failure of moral imagination.”

Source: Bob Kerrey and the ‘American Tragedy’ of Vietnam – The New York Times

I have not made up my own mind on this yet. I am still collecting information, and processing it.

Here is a comment thought, one of many from the NYT comments which I think is helpful and significant:

Ted Hanoi

Vietnam 7 hours ago

“As I long time Vietnam resident (23 years) I cannot agree with Bob Kerrey’s appointment to the Fulbright University. It is a divisive issue here and I am at a loss to understand the lack of sensitivity in this appointment.
I understand Mr. Kerrey has been supporting fundraising for this project for a number of years. A role he can continue to undertake, but not full-time in Vietnam.
I can understand that Mr. Kerrey is trying to atone for past deeds, but his past actions will always be in the background during his tenure at Fulbright which will make his task more difficult and perhaps less effective.
I see the major benefit of the Fulbright as not just delivering “free-market values” to Vietnam but also being an open education model that will slowly force the State higher education institutions to reform and adopt teaching methods that will produce graduates with enhanced innovative thinking capabilities.
I do not agree with Mr. Nguyen regarding a memorial to the Thanh Phong victims at the Fulbright as this idea is directly related to Mr. Kerrey’s appointment. In my opinion, and if there is to be a memorial, the Fulbright should consider erecting a “generalized” memorial to all atrocity victims from this period so that the Fulbright stands as a symbol of reconciliation.
Similarly, Mr. Nguyen’s scholarship proposal should not just focus on Thanh Phong, it should assist as many disadvantaged students as possible from all over the country.”

 

I think that young men of both sides committed atrocities, and they all deserve to be forgiven, if they show regret and remorse and become agents of positive growth. In the end, it for the Vietnamese, not the Americans, to decide if they can permit Bob Kerry to continue his noble acts of repentance inside of Vietnam, as a university president.

Posted in: Post War Problems in Vietnam

Leave a Comment (0) →

Obama, Perhaps Slyly, Calls Attention to Vietnam’s Brain Drain – The New York Times

“HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — President Obama told a gathering of young Vietnamese on Wednesday that the country need not worry about losing its most talented people, but then he proceeded to describe conditions for emigration that fit Vietnam perfectly.“

The places that lose talent, it’s where there’s a lot of corruption,” Mr. Obama said in Ho Chi Minh City at a town-hall style meeting of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, a United States-sponsored mentoring program.Mr. Obama said that people despair of having to pay bribes to start businesses or do the things they want to do, so they leave.Vietnam is deeply corrupt, and development agencies and businesses say they must pay bribes to government officials for anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of the cost of a project to get it completed.Another reason people leave their home countries is environmental issues, Mr. Obama added. “No job is so important that it’s O.K. if your children have asthma and they can’t breathe.

”Photo President Obama greeting the crowd after the gathering in Ho Chi Minh City. Credit Doug Mills The New York Times

The United States Embassy in Hanoi, the capital, recently installed air pollution monitors, and during Mr. Obama’s speech, the level of the most dangerous particles in Hanoi was 158, which is considered unhealthy. High pollution levels substantially increase the risk that children grow up with asthma and weakened lungs. Heavy pollution also increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes in adults.”

Source: Obama, Perhaps Slyly, Calls Attention to Vietnam’s Brain Drain – The New York Times

Posted in: Post War Problems in Vietnam

Leave a Comment (0) →

As Obama Presses Vietnam on Rights, Activists Are Barred From Meeting – The New York Times

HANOI, Vietnam — President Obama won enthusiastic applause here on Tuesday with a supportive reference to Vietnam’s disputes with China, saying in a speech that “big nations should not bully smaller ones.” But several activists who had been scheduled to meet with him before the speech were prevented from doing so, underscoring the gulf with Hanoi on human rights.The White House had requested the meeting as a signal to Vietnam’s Communist government that the United States cares about human rights here. Mr. Obama spent more than his allotted time with the six Vietnamese civil society leaders who did attend the meeting at a JW Marriott hotel, but he said that several others had been prevented from coming.

“Vietnam has made remarkable strides, the economy is growing quickly, the Internet is booming, and there’s a growing confidence here,” Mr. Obama said when a group of reporters were briefly allowed into the meeting. “But as I indicated yesterday, there’s still areas of significant concerns in terms of areas of free speech, freedom of assembly, accountability with respect to government.”

Source: As Obama Presses Vietnam on Rights, Activists Are Barred From Meeting – The New York Times

Posted in: Post War Problems in Vietnam

Leave a Comment (0) →

Vietnam Arms Embargo to Be Fully Lifted, Obama Says in Hanoi – The New York Times

HANOI, Vietnam — The United States is rescinding a decades-old ban on sales of lethal military equipment to Vietnam, President Obama announced at a news conference in Hanoi on Monday, ending one of the last legal vestiges of the Vietnam War.

The United States has long made lifting the embargo contingent on Vietnam’s improving its human rights record, and recently administration officials had hinted that the ban could be removed partly in response to China’s buildup in the South China Sea.But Mr. Obama portrayed the decision as part of the long process of normalizing relations between the two countries after the Vietnam War.“The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations,” he said, with the Vietnamese president, Tran Dai Quang, standing stiffly by his side. “It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalization with Vietnam.

”Mr. Obama insisted that the move should not be interpreted as carte blanche for weapons sales to Vietnam and that the United States would review future arms sales to “examine what’s appropriate and what’s not,” as it does with any country.

As for human rights, he said, “this is an area where we still have differences.”Human rights advocates, who had asked Mr. Obama to hold off on lifting the ban until Vietnam had released some prominent political prisoners and promised to stop the police beatings of protesters, condemned the decision.“President Obama just gave Vietnam a reward that they don’t deserve,” said John Sifton, the Asia policy director of Human Rights Watch.Mr. Quang defended his country’s rights record.“The consistent position and viewpoint of the Vietnamese government is to protect and promote human rights,” he said, adding, “Those achievements have been highly recognized and appreciated by the international community.

”American officials have portrayed lifting the embargo as part of a strategy to help Vietnam defend itself against an increasing threat from China in the South China Sea. Analysts have speculated that in return, Vietnam would grant the United States access to the deepwater port at Cam Ranh Bay.While there were no statements about such a deal on Monday, Mr. Obama did announce new commercial agreements worth more than $16 billion, including one in which Boeing will sell 100 aircraft and Pratt & Whitney will sell 135 advanced aircraft engines to VietJet Air, a privately owned low-cost airline.

Source: Vietnam Arms Embargo to Be Fully Lifted, Obama Says in Hanoi – The New York Times

Posted in: Vietnamese Foreign Policy

Leave a Comment (0) →

Access to Bay Adds Enticement as U.S. Weighs Lifting Vietnam Embargo, By Jane Perlez – The New York Times

“CAM RANH BAY, Vietnam — The ghosts of the Vietnam War have finally faded at the strategic port of Cam Ranh Bay. More than 40 years ago, United States forces left this massive base where Marines landed, B-52s loaded up for bombing raids, and wounded American soldiers were treated.Now, some Vietnamese say they are yearning for the American military to return.“

On Facebook, there was a question recently: What do you want from President Obama’s visit?” said Vo Van Tao, 63, who fought as a young North Vietnamese infantry soldier against the United States. “Some people said they wanted democracy. I said I wanted the Americans to come back to Cam Ranh Bay. A lot of people agreed with me.”

Mr. Obama is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam on Sunday, the third visit by an American president since the war ended. The big question he is expected to answer is whether Washington will lift a partial arms embargo and allow Vietnam to buy lethal weapons from the United States. The Communist government has long asked for the ban to be revoked, and American access to Cam Ranh Bay could be part of the payoff.For the White House, the decision on lifting the embargo has come down to a debate over trying to improve Vietnam’s poor human rights record versus enabling Vietnam to better defend itself against an increasing threat from China in the South China Sea.”

Source: Access to Bay Adds Enticement as U.S. Weighs Lifting Vietnam Embargo – The New York Times

 

My comment to the NYT:

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT

Excellent article. I agree with Secretary Ashton Carter, that the US should lift the arms embargo for Vietnam, without requiring them to change their totalitarian ways. We Americans live in a glass house. We have more of our people imprisoned than almost anyone on earth, including the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese need us, and we need them. They have repelled Chinese invasions at least seven times before the 20th century, when they repelled another Chinese invasion in about 1979. Since 937 AD, the Vietnamese have repeatedly contained China from colonizing Southeast Asia.

David Lindsay is about to publish “The Tay Son Rebellion, a historical fiction of Vietnam, 1770-1802.” He also blogs at InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com.

Posted in: David Lindsay, Vietnamese Foreign Policy

Leave a Comment (0) →

Vietnam’s Battle With Tuberculosis – The New York Times

HANOI, VIETNAM — Dr. Bui Xuan Hiep, the head of tuberculosis control in this city’s Hoang Mai district, paged proudly through a large handwritten patient log.“This district’s cure rate averages 90 percent,” he said. Still, Dr. Bui could see problems.Seven patients had turned up with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis; four had been cured, two had died — and one had simply disappeared.It’s a story repeated throughout Vietnam. The nation was once racked by a tuberculosis epidemic, one of the worst in which H.I.V. was not the driving force. But officials fought back fiercely.Twenty-five years ago, battered by the aftermath of a long war, chronic poverty and a heavy-handed government isolated from much of the world, Vietnam had nearly 600 cases of tuberculosis for every 100,000 residents. Today, it has less than 200.

Source: Vietnam’s Battle With Tuberculosis – The New York Times

Posted in: Post War Problems in Vietnam

Leave a Comment (0) →

In Search of Their Fathers: Seeking Redemption in Vietnam – The New York Times

HO CHI “MINH CITY, Vietnam — For nearly half a century, Margot Carlson Delogne had grieved over her father’s death. She battled alcoholism, wore a missing-in-action bracelet and deeply resented the Vietnamese who shot down his plane in 1966.From Our AdvertisersNow she stood at the end of a long table in a conference room here, facing six Vietnamese men and women who had lost parents in the same war, fighting for the other side. It was her fourth such meeting in eight days, and the emotional toll was catching up with her.“We wondered if our coming together would open old wounds, or if any of us would be angry or sad all over again,” she started. Then she began to cry. “We have been sad,” she said, “but we have found no anger.” ”

Source: In Search of Their Fathers: Seeking Redemption in Vietnam – The New York Times

Posted in: Travel in Vietnam, Vietnam-American War

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 20 of 22 «...101819202122