tv The Refugees CSPAN April 24, 2016 9:44pm-10:01pm EDT
regain their self-respect. some of them may require hospital care, provided by the local relief agencies. all of them, for the duration of their stay here, are under recognized and established authority. the duration of that stay maybe a week or a month, or even a year. as soon as it is possible for them to return to their homes, their repatriation will take place. this moment will be supervised, and of course it will almost always be willingly undertaken. so they come home. even though the home is not as it used to be. here in liberated areas, they are bringing home their same few possessions and a few new ones,
like a smile, and a new hope. but most of all, they bring a desire to dig away the rubble, to plant their roots again, to begin a new life. the kind of life for which we all have fought and suffered, and for which we will continue to fight. the kind of life which is retained only at the price of constant vigilance. now, and until people everywhere can dig again in their own native soil, unafraid, and free. ♪
announcer: each week, american history tv's reel america brings you archival films. ♪ >> this is the face of vietnam. [gunshots] [helicopters] >> after 25 years of war, 25 years of continuous terror, famine, pestilence, and death, many of the living and the dead, but the dead no longer suffer. for many others, dead our dreams, hopes, and trust of years gone by. ♪
>> only one thing keeps many going, hope. you are a marine on patrol, headed for some village whose name you don't even remember. this is a region under control of the viet cong. somewhere out there, and the -- in the dense jungle growth they may be hiding. at any moment, you may come across them. viet cong, or refugees. if viet cong, you know what to do. but if you refugees -- but if refugees, what? what do you do with these people who want out? refugees who have had enough of the enemy from within. your job when you encounter them, where possible to take
care of these refugees, to bring them to a place where they can be safe, where they can learn to believe in life again. there are more than 500,000 refugees here. nearly a million and a half in all of vietnam. each week, the total swells by hundreds. with each passing day, the odds go up you will encounter refugees. the marine corps expects you and your buddies to help through the civic action program. as part of this program, you will provide assistance, protection and transportation for the refugees until they are safely relocated. marines on patrol are usually the first to encounter refugees. meet them with compassion, with
warmth and respect. as a marine, show them you are there to help. this simple act of kindness has its practical aspect. each refugee is one less source of intelligence, food or shelter to the viet cong. one more potential ally. five northern provinces of south vietnam are called the ichor because the south the enemies operates there. there, hundreds of peasants freely seek allied protection from the viet cong. an example of inner service cooperation, shown by the use of army helicopters, resulted when a call was received to lift on a large group of refugees who were caught in the middle of a fierce firefight between the marines and the vietcong forces.
they have hidden during the fighting and now during a mole they run for assistance -- during a lull they run for assistance. it is your job, the job of the marines to bring these people to collection centers, where the government of the republic of vietnam will provide for their immediate needs, food, medical care, shelter and start them off on a road to a new life. why do these refugees leave? why do they run the risk of getting killed by the vc to come out and meet you? the answer is simple, they have seen too much. a village head man and his family, shot to death. a schoolteacher beheaded. their rice, stolen at gunpoint. a young man kidnapped. such is the viet cong liberation. such as ho chi minh's people's democracy.
as the viet cong become more and more desperate and take it out on the innocent people in the villages they control, more and more villagers will sleep homes to escape the terror and the -- flee their homes to escape the terror and the brutality. the majority are women with babies, children and older people. they are weary, disillusioned, bitter, and lost. there was a time when their world ended at the village gate. life centered around the rice paddy and family. there was a time when home was a self-contained universe. governed by ancient laws of harmony with man and nature. happy, serene, and peaceful. but that life died when the first viet cong tax collector
appeared, when the first viet cong agitator, backed by guns, brought a new world to the village gate. the villagers tried to be neutral and not take sides, but not taking sides is a luxury in vietnam. a luxury the rice farmer is automatically denied because he is a prize in this war. a mother worries about her children and the old ones. will the family ever be together again? these refugees are now strangers in their own land. most have never traveled as far as five miles from their homes. left behind now is a part of their souls. the ancestral homes in the lands killed by the countless generations before them --
tilled by generations before them. there are some things that are even stronger than war, and in vietnam, the most important of these is the family. if families are separated by the forces of war, they do not rest until they are reunited. the government knows this cohesive spirit exists and attempts to keep the family and tax and also to assist in locating lost relatives and loved ones when possible. this is a powerful means of both winning the trust of the refugees, and giving them new hope. for the refugees move and family, and village groups. the viet cong claim the republic of vietnam government does not care what happens to its people. if this is true, why then does it commit so much of its resources to providing for the needs of the refugees? is this only a political objective? no. the very reason the free world
has sent troops to vietnam is to give the people security, peace, and a chance for a better future. the united states government supports the refugee programs rough the agency for international development and many american volunteer agencies. there is constant planning and activity to prepare the refugees for movement to secure location. one of the first is the taking of the census and the bringing together again a family groups. the program sponsors programs of locational training, agricultural education, and technical assistance in the fields of health, education, public works, public safety, and the reestablishment of local, civil government. the refugees are taken from the collection centers and moved by truck to secure areas, where the next phase of the refugee program continues. ♪
>> upon their arrival in the secure area, the refugees are placed in temporary quarters where they will live until they can construct permanent housing of their own, from materials provided by the various relief agencies. next on the agenda is the distribution of food. the role of american voluntary agencies is significant. here, the people to people program is welcomed as an answer to prayers. blankets, oil, salt, soap, the daily staples. dried fish.
the refugees are given physical examinations and medical aid when necessary. for this man it was necessary. aid, the agency for international development coordinate contributions to assure maximum effectiveness. food, medical assistance, and tools of self-reliance come through voluntary relief agencies, missions, foundations, and other nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations. the goal is to rehabilitate the refugees. besides giving them initial money allowance, materials for housing construction, and a subsistence gardening clocked -- plot, the republic of vietnam
government tries to teach the new skills. it teaches them how to grow new crops which they can sell in the open market. it encourages refugees to open small businesses. the vietnamese government also runs schools for the refugees' children, and teaches their elders knew, profitable craft and vocational training programs such as woodworking, carpentry, and light manufacturing. as a marine, you have a very practical interest in the rehabilitation of these refugees. someone once said the lives are -- gorillas once said
are like fish because the people are the sea that sustains them. as more refugees flee the viet cong, this sea slowly dries up. the viet cong fish slowly suffocate and die. a time will come when these youngsters will understand what all the fuss was about. meanwhile, they and their parents live in a safe area, in better health. they are also learning something new, the concept of individual freedom. most of these people will resume a normal life in their new villages. some may decide to return to their old home. whatever they do, it will be the choice of free men. more important, if they ever encounter the vc again, they will listen more skeptically before because of what they have learned. perhaps they will hide that grain from charlie or tell you where he is when you pass through. some will thank you openly, others with a smile, and still others by the look of a freshly scrubbed face.