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tv   The Vietnam Wars Legacy for Younger Vietnamese  CSPAN  October 27, 2018 1:35pm-4:01pm EDT

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[applause] >> thank you very much. much.y help me in thanking dr. kennedy for his work. [applause] >> thank you so much. we appreciated your work, your wisdom's, our call to action. offer quickly wanted to on behalf of the board of directors on this event, we want to offer this token of our appreciation. thank you so much. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. you are watching "american history tv," all weekend, every
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weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, find us on c-span. facebook. next up, from a daylong symposium on the vietnam war hosted by the national archives in collaboration with the assembly for democracy in vietnam, a group of the enemies and vietnamese americans present views on the legacy of the vietnam war and how it continues to affect their lives. panelists include an engineer, a native of westminster, california. this is two hours. [applause] >> hi there. some of you may know me. i was formerly with bloomberg and federal news service. i am here to present these amazing panelists. ,t is an honor and a privilege
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and we thank all of those who are attending this event. history. decades of this event has shown people from different respective backgrounds and ages. we do not just open up his discussion for the past, but the future. w: we haveguyen the author of "changing vietnam." have mr. daniel, who was exiled from the nonsense 2017. vietnam. the mayor of westminster, california.
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>> how do i get this on? i just want to say thank you to adv for organizing and putting together this symposium. maybe because the theme of revisiting vietnam offers , iless possibilities proposed a different topic.
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today, i am going to speak on yet another topic. even though jackie never knew what i was going to actually speak on, at least she had the really good sense to put me with the youth panel. right? knows, 50 isone the new 30. i actually have a ton of slides and images, so be forewarned. i never give trigger warnings. i want my students to be half, but be forewarned there will be triggering images. first and foremost, tension arises because the. loss, devastation, revolution, oppression, displacement, and a myriad of other realities for so many globally. individuals and groups had such
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ownership that it affects them and represents a life-changing moment for them to rethink and react. thinking about the vietnam war andencompasses frustration the struggle for representation. how do we unravel these tensions to allow an open dialogue about the vietnam war era and beyond? 1 -- or's with express knowledge that much has already been written, but you will be limited in your view of the larger reality. there is a positive he of information were information has not been accessible, and the information has been unconsciously ignored. this is the point where ken burns documentary appeared with so much promise for new and diverse voices to emerge, but
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ultimately the promise was unfulfilled. the hole in history is the impotence of the difficult terrain i will now enter. knowing that so many are from diverse geographies, they feel throughy understand their unique and shared realities. i propose that we consider the war as a concept. this allows for all participants ,ngaged in ideas and beliefs that they stake claim to real and imagined experiences fully. it may not be owned by the many, but ultimately it cannot be fully owned by any one person or group. this presentation examines various views of the war experience. rethink the help us
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vietnam war with a more inclusive and global perspective. why isht ask, you know, the re-narration of the vietnam war important? i would say that it is important. this is president obama's proclamation regarding the next 13 years when it started in 2012. he gave millions toward a program essentially to narrate the history of vietnam. you agree with everything on this page, which essentially in shorthand says it was a misunderstanding. they were good, we were good. let's move on and commemorate the heroes. thatu agree with proclamation, that is fine. but if you do not, it would be to make sure your viewpoint
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challenges a dominant re-narrative history that is backed up with a presidential proclamation and financial support. so how do we think about doing this? the enola gay was extremely controversial an object. he says citizens need to come together. we need symposiums. we need to hash out these histories. can continuee interpretive analysis moving forward. he is talking about this in the context of exhibits. i want to bring up three exhibits and get into detail. i like storytelling, and i like putting out the dirty laundry. do you want the pg version or the raw, dirty, behind the scenes version?
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raise your hands if you want the raw, dirty, behind the scenes secret of the rich and famous -- ok. i will give you that one. because i prepared for that one. on was is going essentially a commemoration of 30 years held in oakland, california. the second exhibit, called vietnam war concepts where i served as co-curator of the hanoi museum was in 2015. exhibit just opened today in san jose and will go on until april 7. it showcases the works of engagement with the themes of the vietnam war. let us start off with this one. tookexhibit, as mentioned,
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place in 2004 and was inspired by an individual who went to oakland where they stored a lot of artifacts for the museum. decades-old graffiti. graffiti of the soldiers leaving. so she was really interested in photography, and she decided, let us make this exhibit. it was a budget of over $2 million and included i've hundred. 500 artifacts. quick.k at this real it chronicles the years of the war. you are probably familiar with this if you are familiar with the vietnam war. how did i get involved ? itself opened in
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2005, and it had a lot of promise. suggested that it began during the occupation of iraq. there were missed opportunities to explore these avenues. protest after protests, it was largely around the misrepresentation of history. because mimid nguyen was brought in. she was at the time interviewing community leaders, different writers and journalists. was proposing these names to the curator and the organizing team, and they did nothing about it. so she called me up and she linh, i thinkeu
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this group is going against its grant. you have to reach out to the communities. it cannot be the same perspective over and over again. what should i do? should i expose it? berkeley, you say yeah, raise hell. go for it. she got fired and i felt guilty because i said go for it. the cambodianr, american community came to her defense. they mobilized. board about what to do to support mimi and find out what is going on with the exhibit. what came up was the southeast asian advisory committee, and i was on the board. got her job back, but
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they hired another vietnamese-american who left because he sought there were issues with the exhibit that were not good. oh gosh. ok. so they achieved some things. the same stuff you would be familiar with involving the vietnamese-american community. but then i felt my voice was missing. here are some images. i am trying to go very quickly. maybe that was too much. too fast. well, you get it. the first councilwoman of san jose, artifacts, culture. committee, they said you can look at anything you want and talk to groups you want and look at cards for comments. what i found was startling. the only missing
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group was not the southeast asians. i found out we were one of 11 interest groups that wanted their voices. there was a moment where my skin crawled and i realized, i do not own the vietnam war. my community does not own the vietnam war. so many people, and how do they own it? you have african-americans who felt like they were, you know, connected with those they felt were trying to fight off imperial list americans and they felt they were internalized, internally calley colonizing the united states. they had the biggest protests in latino community. also in places like africa and latin america, where the idea of
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international revolution was word the it the non-sparked a change. me of this kind of made think, wow, i have to rethink this idea about ownership. in a few years i made my own exhibit. it, and how vietnam said, hey, we are beautiful and nonviolent. we are not warlike. we want to be part of the garment industry. so i did an exhibit on that. that got me notoriety. i was asked in 2013 to be killed curator of an exhibit that would commemorate the 40th anniversary of the ending of the war in vietnam. i wanted to bring in different perspectives.
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it was supposed to be 20 in-country artist and 20 overseas artists. i am just going to quickly talk about a few of them here. he is a guggenheim grantee. it took images like these. if you know a little bit about vietnam war history, you know 1979 was thatnd white teein there were a lot of minds. there were left from -- a lot of mines. there was a whole generation where this was their experience of the vietnam war. a youngwas living as child. he felt isolated. he had confused notions of what his history was. witht to france and met , and this is one of those
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triggering images. there we were, stonefaced. workes a very interesting where he puts north vietnamese soldiers together in insulation. i have a video, but i will not have time to go through it. on the front, you see a soldier on the north. on the back, a soldier from the south. the idea is that they were brothers. i also thought about the black panther movement, how they related with the north vietnamese to the point where they offered their soldiers. movement,ere a social and individuals who stood up for rights and had civil rights and worked for the community. is, instead of curating, it was given to a
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veteran from the vietnam war who called himself an artist. they took my concept and they let someone else curate it. this is typical of how things run in vietnam, in case you are curious. we finally had a conversation. they said we want you to do the exhibit. i said, well, what happened? they said this person did not know what to do with your materials. i said first of all, i never gave you my materials. they said that they did not want to do the 40th anniversary. they wanted the 20th anniversary of the lifting of the embargo. i said, who is funding this? the u.s. embassy. i knew this. the trend was this new relationship with the u.s. and vietnam. is, canhe last thing
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you guess what i told them when they said come back? there is an m and an f in it. no. i said no thank you. that was that. he came over as a young person. he is a self exiled artist from vietnam. was under house arrest for a decade before he died, and he was very influenced i what happened with his father. what happened with his father. he came with the boat people. he came back to vietnam as early as 1993. collected literally hundreds
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of pounds of photographs trying to find his family photos, because when you leave you leave everything. andraded installations scanned them because these are the memories of south vietnam. histories of our everyday lived experience that is not captured in the history, revolvingerything is around one perspective. the other thing he did was a magnificent short film about overseas vietnamese coming back. they talked about how difficult how it was it is, like a dream and filled with angst. it is raw. things.ll of amazing he worked on a film about a collection of artists in wartime, and these are some of their images.
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official,igh-ranking very young, part of the military. he left the party and they labeled him crazy. this is one of his early paintings about complete depression because he was disillusioned by the party system. i would say how important they are, how important and a virus they are. -- and diverse they are. 2020. to think about in yeah. that is it. [applause] ms. dzung nguyen: next, we will
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talk about the epic struggles in vietnam. >> good afternoon. i would like to get the chance to talk. i came here from vietnam less than a year.
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my english is not very good, because i have only been here one year. they will help me to provide with interpretation. we can have a q&a. thank you. >> i am happy to be here, even though the audience has thinned out quite a bit. the best way for you to stay awake is to look at the handsome vietnamese gentlemen, and let me wish i was that young. [laughter] he poured his heart out in a
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and i will not but the mostages, touching things that give us pause is the first sentence. vietnam isy youth in nothing but normal." i would like you to think about that, and you may ask them questions later. but the question is, is anybody -- does anybody in vietnam have a normal youth?
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this is in the superlative degree of comparison only, because he witnessed a lot. he went through life teeing tortured, witnessing other people -- his father, his mother hisut it age seven in 1997, father went to the police to report what happened to his mother, and they beat him so badly he suffered a brain concussion. that is not all. his parents separated. -- mother had two brothers kept two brothers and one sister. his uncle, could you stand? he is sitting back there. he adopted him. and then you know as vietnamese,
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beingnot the young ones, an american who had been in the service in vietnam realize that -- what happened to all of those beautiful guards? they have been mistreated under different regimes. but under the communists they were mistreated and beaten and tortured and chased out of their homes. he was friended -- he was branded an enemy of the state. he was successful in setting up a home base congregation where every house would serve as a chapel and people would come in and have services.
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his father was almost blinded in one eye, and bleeding in the back. he was known for distributing religious materials that slandered the government. he because of his efforts, was able to bring christian priests, pastors, buddhist monks cts of religion in vietnam together to defend themselves against all of these oppressions and miss treatments. treatments. vietnam, and the committee for religious freedom visited fthe father.
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attention.al international pressure mounted. he received an 11 year sentence for demanding freedom of expression. freed and gained worldwide attention. 2006, they got together and wrote the manifesto on freedom and democracy. in the beginning, there were 600 signatories. an eight, he received year sentence for serious crimes that harmed national security. the funniest thing is that some
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of you might remember when the televised court trial happened, and the father pushed toward the front and said, down with communism. nclothesely the plai cuffed him, and the image was passed around the world. condemnationrious by worldwide communities and human rights groups. .ast-forward , daniel was 15. head of the household. at 15. the household he had to take care of his becausend his siblings,
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the pastor signed off on this manifesto and he was tortured. he was put in solitary confinement, denied medical treatment. while he was in school, they would pull him out and question him and make him try and confess. his father received six years in years, but mean 11 he ended up spending six years. his mother said, ok, you have no future here in the highlands. go to saigon. witnessed the high-ranking and well-to-do kids driving around with motorcycles, gunning
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red lights, causing accidents, beating on people. friend shared a rented room. he tried to find work. the worst thing he found out was, a lot of people tried to escape the blight in situation in vietnam, they had to sign up and pay exorbitant sums to get the visa to work as a labor exporter. he fellesides this, into slavery. they worked and became addicted to drugs. they had to sell their bodies for sex. the saddest thing is, he nan an red
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advertisement of two young girls for sale on ebay. andper than the used car, to be delivered only in taiwan. so this is the kind of thing going on around the world. thatart that got me was even at his age, he had a lot of mistreatment. if you wanted to go overseas and get a job he had to pay for this middle man was colluding with the vietnamese government because otherwise there would be no visa, no passport. so they cannot get out of vietnam. they have to pay some people. they have to mortgage their homes for $5,000, $6,000. so he is very angry at this
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point. pauseestion that gave me is that he sought his friends putting their safety and lives on the line to go to the streets and protest. so this is his saying. sight and inspiring example of hero is him by those who struggle against an unjust totem, when all i wanted was study and become somebody and pay my family back for raising me. but when i wanted -- i could not take to the streets to show solidarity with my friends. the freedom of religion, of expression, the to form unions and protections, from predatory lenders and expropriation
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because i remained quiet in my soul, considering the promise to keep working and sending money home to my family. many nights i stayed awake with my conscience stirred. about being hopeful, but maybe too soon and too much. when president obama visited, and then in july of 2017, his father was free. they were given a condition of exiling to the united states. 2017, i do not put a lot of faith in this president -- president trump attended a regional summit in hanoi. so what some were saying was, should i put a lot of faith in this visit because usually when
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a president visits vietnam, they would throw a bone. meaning they would give freedom to some activist in jail. youwithout further ado, ou can can -- oh, sorry. you can ask questions later. i will interpret. inky. [applause] thank you. [laughter] [applause] ms. dzung nguyen: next, we have the engineer from north carolina who willl talk about the ethnic struggle of the mountain
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yard in vietnam. >> good afternoon everyone. thank you for the opportunity to be here. i am so glad to be here. thank you to those who helped to organize this event. it has been tremendous. before i start my presentation, i would like to acknowledge a few people here that are with us today. dan, who acknowledge has extensive experience with the people of the central highlands of vietnam. please stand. [applause] want to thank my
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father. he knows firsthand how they were treated. thank you so much for being here. also, my folks from north carolina are here with me as well. thank you. before i start, i hope you understand my broken english here. abouti will be talking the vietnam war, and the struggle of the montagnard indigenous people of the central highlands of the vietnam. you knowthink most of who the montagnard are and how they existed. there are a few topics i will touch base on fairly quickly because of time constraints.
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this is the map of the central highlands where there are 28 different tribal groups inhabiting the central highlands. this map was created by the u.s. army in 1964. the central highlands have become a strategic location where the americans were during the vietnam war. and who are the montagnard? whichled ourselves dagar, means children of the mountain. -- the degar. we're called the montagnard mountaineers, a name given to us by the french. we are affectionately called "yards" by american soldiers who fought alongside us during vietnam. we are indigenous people of the central highlands of vietnam. from approximately 2.5 million people, our population has
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diminished to roughly one million. there were four main tribes. 20 other ethnic groups who inhabited the central highlands of vietnam. we speak the languages of malaysia, polynesia. each tribe has its own distinct dialect or language. we have at 200 years, thought alongside french as well as americans. the indigenous people were exploited during the indochina wars from 1945-1975. more than 200,000 montagnard were killed. 80% of our villages were destroyed. sacrifices did not bring the freedom they desired. 1848-1854, the first catholic missionaries exploited
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the central highlands and indochina. after it has to find the highlanders, the french organized our diverse tribes into a cohesive unit and gave them the names montagnard. please forgive my french here. with thegnard autonomy montagnard du sud." the french government established a system throughout the central highlands that featured offices. however, the montagnard did not hold high positions within the
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french system. in 1950, the central highlands were designated a crown domain under the direct control of emperor bo ao dai. 1951, an edict established a social status for the indigenous peoples of the central highlands. they were guaranteed freedom with respect to traditions and customs. article number seven also gets to that, the rights acquired by the natives that were guaranteed entirety. when the french were defeated, french indochina was declared over. unfortunately, it does not allow to participatee
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in the convention. subsequently, the convention. subsequently, vietnam was divided into two countries. regimehe south vietnam on march 11, 1955, the montagnard was abolished. they were declared ethnic minorities by the constitution of south vietnam. imposed a series of inhumane policies. he compelled montagnard military men and servant women to take vietnamese names. traditional names were vietnam-ized. the distinctive traditional names were changed into the vietnamese language. he prohibited teaching the language in schools throughout the central highlands. a delegatemulgated hi for the highlands.
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he completely ignored the one million people suffering in the central highlands. he also resettled one million vietnamese refugees throughout the central highlands, and they became enraged. farmland began to take a dramatic turn. this policy was subjective. 1957, a land development program was established. it was to achieve two goals. to bring modernization to the highlander by mastering vietnamese in the region. ther this new law,
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vietnamese settlers in the central highlands could begin title to the land they farmed. in 1956, a resistant movement was formed to resist diem's policy of assimilation and to demand the montagnard's autonomy be restored. several were killed, and many were arrested and sentenced to prison. under the new rule of the new this new policy was not much different from the previous one. the montagnard situation seems to get worse. they continue to be used and given false promises. 1967, there was a campaign for montagnard votes and trust.
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they ran for president and vice president of south vietnam. the general agreed and signed to decrees and noted in the constitution as follows. a special statute was promulgated for the indigenous peoples. land reform. right tognard's homeland was recognized. but the montagnard would never be allowed to study abroad for higher dictation. wouldition, no montagnard be promoted to higher ranks in the south vietnam military. with respect to number two, it was set up to ensure that each tribal family was provided lands to sayertificate,
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nothing of the families who already own the land. during the french indochina wars of 1945-1975, north vietnam occupied and controlled a good percentage of the area. vietnamese recruited and trained thousands of montagnard to become soldiers against the south. soldiers, fighting against the north vietnamese. the central highlands became a battlefield for 30 years. the indigenous peoples were used as a tool. the people became victims of the conflict in the land of ancestors. we killed our own people without mercy. of 1961 president
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berety sent 400 green special advisors to vietnam to train the south vietnamese. the green beret would soon be expanded to establish the village defense program, which now became the civilian irregular defense group. the group was made up of fierce mountain men who established a string of cancer along the mountains to thwart the infiltration of the north vietnamese. by 1963, the montagnard militia .umber just over 43,000,
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they achieved self determination and self government. in the end, our people were exploited and used by both the north and south. after the fall of south vietnam, the war ended. the outcome did not bring peace. the struggle and suffering continued. those who survived were captured and executed by the communist regime, and some died in education camps. autonomyom and promised by ho chi minh never became a reality. the realities instead or death, torment, pain, and betrayal. it was just a fiction. the present-day government of vietnam imposed restrictions on the ability of members of the indigenous peoples to exercise their rights.
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the montagnard have lost the right to live, to land, to family, to national scholarships for higher education. we are treated with contempt. as you can see today, over 30,000 vietnamese students come here. there is not a single montagnard student. life for the younger generations remains without equal. their parents cannot afford to send them to school. of ouracing the loss entire culture. educational assistance and humanitarian aid is blocked.
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many are restricted from going to their villages. people continue to face unfair and unjust treatment daily. the government of the non-considers the montagnard as an enemy. churches are being monitored. andpolicy of assimilation ethnic cleansing has continued, and is intended to eradicate montagnard identity from the face of the earth. thank you for listening, and for the opportunity to be here. over 30%-40% of .ll men
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if you have any questions later on, michael in the back will help. thank you. [applause] ms. dzung nguyen: thank you so much. have the mayor of westminster, california, to talk about the outlook of the vietnam war and unhealed wounds. >> good afternoon everyone. it has been a long day.
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the issue is still complex. it is more complex than we could imagine. i would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank , as welld her husband as others for organizing this. i think this is a great for generations of vietnamese to look back and study this experiment. war ended 43 years ago.
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for those who were engaged directly in the war, there would be a different perspective from were born after the war, except for under the communist regime. for the first 10 minutes of my presentation, i planned to talk under theife communist regime. i would like to share my interview. i hope you enjoy it. so i will try my best to keep you all awake. i know it has been a long day.
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how come the vietnam war ended, and we still continue to give our perspective? that has been going on for decades. what could be the motivation for the younger generation of to learne overseas about the vietnam war and to understand the current situation in vietnam? it is an unhealed wound that cuts through generations. experience as a case study.
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1992e to this country in at the age of 19. i was born in 1973, just before the war ended. my family and i stayed in vietnam after the communists in the north took over the south. 17 years living under the was not fun. i still remember christmas eve, 1977.
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when my family was ready for were in10 people civilian outfits. they knocked at my door. my father answered the door. they entered my house. they gathered my family into a big room. he notified us that my father violated a vietnamese communist law. something against the communists. they put my parents into separate rooms to interview them. after hours of interviewing my theyr and mother,
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continued to search our whole house, turning it upside down. , it was terrifying, .ut i still remember they cut into our pillows, our toys. i could see they were upset. after hours, they did not find anything. away.till took my father so my mother was suffering.
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she had to raise me and my sister by herself. , weions of other vietnamese had to suffer this shame every day. thousands of who served under the south vietnamese regime were imprisoned in reunification camps. it was actually hell. after several years, the
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communists released my father. the reason they released 10 is because he was in poor condition. he survived. after that, we received applications. a south vietnamese colonel in vietnam. when my father and i went to an
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interview with the u.s. state department, they decided to let u.s. asy go to the legal refugees. my uncle did not have enough so theor my family, state department realize my father was in prison for years. so they decided my family could not continue to move. so that began on april 30, 1992. honest, i believe a
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majority of vietnam ease did not want to leave the country if they did not have to. when they came here -- when i came here, i registered. i studied political science because i wanted to be a normal person. i got a college degree. i started a family. i got a job. after a year in the glendale community college, i realized i could not do well in modern physics. i took introduction to american politics. that was my requirement class
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for graduation. after one exam my professor called me and. in. he told me i did very well. considerd me to political science as a major. i listened to him. since then, everything went smoothly. i majored in political science in when i was in school, i did not have a lot of vietnamese friends. they wondered what was wrong with me. chemistry,d biology,
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business. they wanted to make more money rather than study boring materials. i took a masters program in international relations. i had to go to different libraries to do my research paper. political theory, , andnational relations study a lot about u.s. foreign-policy. i was fascinated by it. so my childhood in vietnam was at a time when i believe we
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communismd to study in school. that was not an option. we were forced to study everything communism. i was lucky because at home, my parents gave me a different guide. i had the opportunity to read in vietnamese many american novels like "old man and the sea" by ernest hemingway, and jack london. after i got a degree in political science, i met my wife
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in 1998, 20 years ago exactly. really changed my life. she recruited me to participate organization. a really, really big and well organized organization. we organized activities and events for the community. i was involved in that organization for two years, and iter that i decided that wanted to marry my wife. we settled down. but a week after our wedding, members of the community came to me and convinced me to run for
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president of the vietnamese american committee of southern california. i did not want to do it. people came to me, they tried to convince me. they failed. so i became the president of the american committee of southern california, and served for two years. came to me and asked me to run for office. i did. six years ago, they wanted me to run for mayor of the city of westminster, california. i listened to the people, and i got elected.
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in the community for the last 20 years i realized that the generation wants to see the future generations to step up and give back. so, i think my generation is doing well. i am willing to accept the second generation that was born here. being a vietnamese-american elected official, i have two roles. helping the city of westminster,
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feeling concerns from the to supportthat also, the vietnamese-american community to fight for freedom and human rights. i would like to thank the voice of america for interviewing me last year. [applause] >> my name is tri ta.
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and i am the mayor of the city of westminster. u.s.mily and i came to the in 1982 as political refugees. freedom is very important to us. if you read the history of the i understand the meaning of freedom because until now after 42 years, vietnam does not have freedom. the vietnamese government is many arresting people, intellectuals and writers just becausebeaten
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they want to stand up for freedom and human rights. when inremember a time college i studied political science is my major. exam in i took an political science 101. a professor called me in. me that i dido really well on my first exam in political science 101. he advised me that i should change my major to political science. so i listened to him. the vietnamese-american community in the city of westminster 11 years ago made up 36% of the city's population.
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they wanted me to run for office is because they that id at the time would be able to run on good principles. i want to be the voice of everyone in the city. i want to be a public servant who provides services to everyone. i never expected that someday i would run for office. i realize that now i have more responsibilities. believe that we need to work together. when we get everyone together, we have to dig deep to understand and accept differences of others.
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you have to be a good listener, you have to be patient. you have to move the city forward. we have been doing that for the last 20 years. ♪ >> i had to study different philosophies. because philosophy helps human beings to understand ourselves. myself that i have to examine myself to help other people. that is one of my missions in life. you want to give back to the community. you want to give back to the country. you want to give back to everyone. [applause]
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>> i just forgot to acknowledge someone. he also is my father. 's advisor. he was also a pow. thank you. : thank you mr.n mayor. sarah is a professor at george mason university and a published scientist in molecular biology. she is also an advocate for the vietnam easese community. it is her passion to preserve culture. [applause] thank you.
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i would like to thank the organizers of the symposium today, and all of the speakers of this session for their presentation of all of the different perspectives of the younger generations, generations we refer to as the 1.5 and second generation today. witnessing the violence and destruction that continued long after the american troops returned home. havepeaker for the session shared their intimate experiences, offering up stories as studies for dissection in hopes of helping us understand the perspectives of the younger generation postwar through the lens of the non-vietnamese andps, someone in the u.s., someone representing a minority group. the picture is poignant and sobering.
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this is the image i see. there was no higher social status to be claimed by his people. montagnards were confined to a secondary social class. there were no better jobs to be obtained because of the position the government has placed. there was nothing to claim because of assimilation and ethnic cleansing intended to eradicate the montagnard from the face of vietnam. we are losing an entire culture. standing in the aftermath of what seemed like a violation, the destruction of the entire world -- picking up through the rubble the only thing left his family had to lose. hope. eroinesoes and her demanded of themselves only what they demand of us -- to answer the call.
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westminster's journey began. we all have the responsibility and potential to change tomorrow. together, these speakers are the devastating and uplifting message of the last session. it expresses disdain for the treatment of vietnamese in the past, but also the unity between the first, the 1.5, and the second generations. inh one has a role to play healing the wounds of war. with their stories of the wayance, they paved for my generation to continue their work. -- the second generation -- is coming of age now, or will be in the next decade to take on additional auxiliary ones of
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learning and understanding the damage of communist government. we will pick up the baton alongside other generations before us. we need to be ready for when the time comes for us to make appropriate decisions. although the speakers have scored the scars of war in their optimistic myself because three generations are present today in this room to hear the message. together we can make it better future. it has been more than four decades of the loss of freedom, not just for the vietnamese people, but for centuries worth of history before the communist regime. they compressed themselves into cries out record that as loudly as it can for justice. comparing the treatment of the if theards, i am curious
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doctor would be willing to share his thoughts how the montagnards experiences are parallel to the treatment of aborigines and australia, the native americans in america, and other groups throughout history. we have heard about how the the rights are denied of religion or to own their ancestral lands were practiced traditions and speak dialect. we apply whatan we learned about other indigenous groups that have been wiped out by the government. ? what do we do to ensure that the montagnards do not suffer the same fate? as refugees settle around the effortsd reunification
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bring heavily concentrated communities to appear in cities like greensboro and orange county, california. in contrasting the montagnard community and comparing them against little saigon in cities scattered across the united states, i am curious as to the diversity of those communities and how the homogeneity of the population makes certain issues more complex or challenging when the groups come together to bring about positive change. whatever the differences among the groups of individuals in these communities, the yellow flag with three red stripes is still a symbol of freedom. they shared personal stories that serve as a testament to the kinds of impact on the th vietnamese community.
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what are the different statutes for harnessing foreign policy changes in vietnam and improving its importance in international human rights obligations? would you sayat to the subset of th vietnamese? it saddens me to see people at protests but ask that their faces not be recorded by media stations. or registered anonymous. in what other ways is a war more? we are so haunted today by the war experiences. how does that affect relationships between them and
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the subsequent generations? may comment onn effects across genders. i think the dialogue between generations is valuable and critical. some of us had a difficult task of weird indoctrination in a country that is by all intents censuring the media. people who, in an area with restricted access to both local and foreign efforts, conducted his own investigation on the political landscape and the welfare of his people through a contraband computer. with my final thought, technology in the 21st century
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cuts through the fog of information and brings together three generations. i feel a certainty because of what the symposium has offered. an opportunity to reflect on the past, present, future. we hope to keep the embers burning and our hearts as we beat for freedom. for vietnam. for each other. thank you. [applause] ms. dzung nguyen: thank you. that was beautifully said. miss nancy lynn is unfortunately sick. although currently right now, i am focused on a political campaign for my party i put down my passion of teaching.
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if money was not an option. so for the moderator, i will introduce the president and ceo of voice of vietnamese americans. she is focused on capacity building. she will be moderating the q&a. questions shall take one minute, and answers will take two for the panelists. thank you. >> is the moderator, i would like to thank everyone here for this good panel. i would like to also ask all of the young people -- >> we cannot. hear you. >> speak into it. >> as the moderator, i want to thank everyone here. we have until six or clock to
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discuss. it is a long time. i would like to ask everyone who wants to continue, especially the young people here, to talk about what you are doing. to begin with, we have one minute for questions and two minutes to answer. kevin will tell us when the time is up. you are the organizer. pick up the mic and talked into it. about thetion is topics you raised. taught not, we were to call the people living in the .ighlands
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in my reading i found that the dialects and vietnamese language belonged to the same language is also the ethnic language of family. beginning of the vietnameseennium did speak from the common language. because there was probably a se paration between people living in the planes and people living in the mountains, the highlands.
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if a new vietnamese government has a policy of bringing people living in the mountains to the highlands living the same nation they consider everyone with the same civil rights, do you think that the people in the mountains should consider themselves a part of the vietnamese nation? >> thank you for your question. i do not know much about the language besides montagnard. when you look at it, when president diem took over south vietnam, the first thing he did our ownrohibit teaching dialect in school. my generation, i have never studied my only which.
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language. speak well and freely in my own language. when you look at the montagnard, it comprises 20 different ethnic groups. each one has its own dialect. my fathermy family, is one tribe. i cannot speak both of them. because in vietnam, the are not givenple the equal opportunities when you against the vietnamese citizens in vietnam. that is why our people will -- it is hard to say if you compare it with vietnamese citizens themselves. we are restricted, limited in resources. and also, the government and
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services. it is very hard for our people because after the war, the north vietnamese and president of the joinedietnam government ho chi minh fighting for the north. our is why after the war, leaders who fought against the north and the south. he was arrested right before i was three months old. born, i did not see my father after 19 years. so when i first came here i was 19. >> i am glad you are here with us. we are brothers and sisters now, and we are all americans.
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we are all speaking english. it is international. and we are all for liberty. whenever i hear or read about protestsndously brave on the part of young people were ther people in vietnam, question that always occurs to me is how representative is the treatment that these people are feeling? are these isolated cases? there are a lot of them for whom vietnam is a huge country. 90 million people. how are these people representative of many others, or not?
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i would imagine an apologist for the regime would say these are troublemakers. they do not represent the vietnamese people. i certainly do not believe that. wonder how representative they are of the people as a whole. liveder if the people who in vietnam recently field about that. i would like to ask mayor tri ta to start that and address that. thank you for your question. until today, we all had the same concerns that vietnamese running there country with one policy -- to make sure that vietnamese people do not have human rights, that they do not understand their
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rights, and that they are to imprison anyone who dares to speak up, who dares to speak up on human rights. and if you pay attention to the current situatoin iion in vietn, you will understand that for the last few months, millions inside been opposed to the communist government. it sold land to china. arrested.e got
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for many years, i mentioned that authors, writers, intellectuals -- anyone who dared to write anything about human rights or thoseous freedom -- people would be arrested, put in prison. yeah. so that is a current situation. he vietnamese living outside of vietnam need to continue to raise awareness and continue to address the issue. ers will take oth some action, and that would be
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the moment. >> i have lived in vietnam for the past few months organizing an international conference. protests were going on in every city. pretty shocking. it did not get a lot of press here. but it was well-known in vietnam, especially where young people organized. it is also where the vietnamese government have a lot of issues to,ng to -- it is difficult i do not want to complicate things. definitely an interest to control, but also an interest to influence. they want to know what the next generation is doing. trying to organize something, anything. that, therely after was the threat of deportation.
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showed thereat it is discontent. people taking to the streets. want to say at has to do with china and the internet. internet information. for one, there is no denying that they are invisible often times. that is one part of it. have issues to be followed. all of that is true. on the inverse, vietnam is also itself a country of rich economic diversity. a they will be brought out as
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co-modification to some degree. you know, one of the life-changing things was in 1996. hmongare a lot of black and quitwhite hmong. one girl was talking about selling her wares to the minority folks in vietnam. i was like, that is so impressive. it is that ethnic studies moment if you will. your ethnic groups. fast forward to a couple of years ago when i was in hanoi. i asked a lot of questions around oppression or feeling
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like you are not getting opportunities. so many of them said that they were getting opportunities. faraway places, but they were given scholarships. they were encouraged to learn more about culture. i was surprised. i just want to paint a more andspread stroke of this, not to pretend there is one way. they are on facebook. they organize. they seem to me to feel very much like they are getting opportunities. >> if you look on the internet or facebook, you see that from the north and everywhere, people who have no education from all different age groups and waltz of life came to the streets.
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she is a young woman with two children. she was jailed for nine years. he was jailed because he was practicing against the state. he was sentenced to nine years because she reported that 32 people of all different ages and walks of life died within one hour after being detained. .> thank you
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i would like to focus on the younger generation here. i wanted to ask how you is vietnamese feel about the broader asian american community. some of you know that there is a suit pursued against harvard on behalf of some asian-americans. there is a hidden agenda that i do not want to go into, but i do want to ask about the with the vietnamese community -- and i know there are many sections and factions in it -- to the larger community. there are challenges with china. i am sure you are very aware of that. so if somebody on the panel could talk about the relationships that you were
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seeing or not seeing with other asian-americans. i am actually not sure of your question. are you asking if there is a ?elationship >> i am asking what kind of linkages there are or are not. areas of contention? are there areas of collaboration? >> yes. for sure. asianrom an american studies department. they are integrated. with asian-americans, on the one hand they feel as asian americans there are people who
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are going to say, oh, you are hmong or you are vietnamese or you are korean. that, they have this asian american identity. so when anything comes out like korean pop, asian americans consume it. when crazy rich asians comes out, everyone watches it. maybe i am not a good example because i am mixed race, but we perceive this -- that, we aredd to a member of many collaborations. with a together coalition of asian pacific americans of virginia. we also work together with the api.
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we talk about civic engagement. we are also members of the coalitions of apa. work, and we work together. so we work with them. we have different ways of collaboration. we do work with them very tightly in the fight for the south china sea. we work with americans in different areas. so far there are no contentions. thank you. >> a few quick observations. on the difference between hmong
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, of course there in the upper red river area. oddly enough, the hmong in vietnam have a pretty easy time unlike in laos. they have a tough time in vietnam because they have declared independence from vietnam sometime back. so it is very interesting to look microscopically at each community. i commend the organizers for homing in on the data. there is nobody more marginalized than these people who paid the heaviest price per capita, and they are still greatly abandoned. that said, i think is the doctor put it in a very useful framework there is a first nations context we can look at. i think it is very important that we leave with a commitment
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to bolster the degar, who are so tiny and were abused by the americans and the vietnamese. we should help them in any way we can. thank you for focusing on the. we need to recognize their differences. they are in the central highlands. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. >> this question is for mayor tri ta. it comes from my own experience. my mother left vietnam when she was pregnant with me. my dad was in the reeducation camps. everybody that goes through war has trauma. i the vietnamese community, grew up in westminster, california, so it is directed at you.
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it is taboo. population that has a lot of drama. . as we talk about reconciliation. a discussion in the city of westminster on how to bring awareness to mental health? they do not talk about mental health. i really appreciate that. i pay attention to those concerns.
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they never want to discuss that issue, even among the fundamentals. because of the vietnamese culture, they tended to keep everything for themselves. rather than to explore that for it is asometimes challenge for me to give my support or come up with solutions. i am working as an official to lay out our solution. however, i hope that in the several nonprofit organizations in the vietnamese community will continue to
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promote awareness. they need to raise that awareness so that up to the point that the vietnamese will feel comfortable to talk about that issue. when you ask any as to whether or not you have issues. i think you know that. an easy really not solution for me. -- so it is not really an easy solution, but i continue to work with elected officials higher. we want to promote awareness in
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the community. i hope i answered that question. inky. thank you. >> i would like to address the languages here. are mainly ofs two groups. they are not related to the vietnamese. their language is not related to the vietnamese. which isated to hmong cambodian over in burma, and the more tribal groups. again, no relation to the vietnamese.
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so if you would like more education on that i am willing to provide it to you. thatof you may not know , after being promised by the american government that we would support them in the actions against the north vietnamese, they went to the jungles. religion plays a very prominent role in the u.s., and also in
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vietnam. there are over 100 montagnard pastures in vietnam. if one of your churches is not ,egistered with the government once you are registered under that meansent rule they can keep track of it. dangerous, and a lot of christians are persecuted today.
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there are pastors in jail right now. >> in my opinion, i think that we have country minority communities. i think the montagnard are the vietnamese people. swas me, when i imprisoned by the vietnamese
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hardnment, i fought very .or the right of montagnard they always tried to isolate montagnard. they put one montagnard in a group composed of a majority. these montagnard felt sad because they could not share because no one
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could understand them. and i asked the director to regroup the montagnard in one room. i was successful. >> do you have a question? >> ok. >> you already went past one minute. >> ok. all of that to say, i am speaking to the interests of the montagnard. doingstion, what are you and what do you want to do for montagnard right now in vietnam? >> thank you.
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>> this is a very political question. i guess first of all, we need to will bet the montagnard given equal opportunity in vietnam. and also in the long term, that ourould fight for self-determination and self-governance in vietnam. because if you look at it, following the geneva convention of july, the french did not side toe montagnard participate in the convention. that is white vietnam was divided into two countries.
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the montagnard -- if the montagnard was allowed to participate, there may have been a different outcome. >> thank you. we have many other people on the other side. please keep your question to one minute and actually ask a question. first, thank you for the experiences. is my favorite section because it is so fresh and pure. we are looking forward to a new country. given freedom,
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and a country like this and reviewing what happened going through, do you have a believe with what happened going through, do you have a belief that vietnam in the future, if freedom and democracy really communism,o vietnam, do think that we will remain people have lost for the and also for the vietnamese that have been through the communist country?
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>> thank you for your question. i will answer this way. nowher the vietnam right will have democracy, not theunism, if you look at history of it, the north will from promises by the north vietnamese and at the same time, south vietnam under and under the general, the promise was always there. in the end, what did we get? nothing. people contributed during the war that did not really understand especially the younger generation how much our
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,eople as indigenous people call of the indochina war from 1945 through 1975. if vietnam will become a democratic free country at pray that they will look our aspiration, at what they want for their future to have an equal opportunity just like the vietnamese citizen. i hope that will happen. time will tell. [applause] >> is the first time we have changed the destiny of the kingdom into a democracy.
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will have one minute. one question. i would like to answer your question this way. communism collapse of no one could have predicted that communism would collapse in the soviet union. i truly believe vietnam will be free someday, however, it would take some time, the vietnamese continue. >> freedom, democracy, at the raising concerns that
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haveietnamese communists religious freedom. why doing that, it will take some time. it has not happened overnight. i believe someday, vietnam will be free. we need to have hope. hope is something we continue to fight for freedom. >> i just want to say to that, i , youryour question democracy and the question i would ask is, how do you achieve that democracy? did you achieve it before 1979 in vietnam, because some of the issues where that it was not a democracy for people and that was one of the things that was argued. the other thing is, once that is , the next thing is,
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how do people perceive freedom here and elsewhere? you talked to a lot of people in the united states were they feel like they are not free. they are suppressed or they fear for their lives and so on and so forth. somehow, there is a democracy somewhere and even in russia, i think people will feel that, it fell and now there is no ussr, but a lot of people complain that it is an authoritarian country. it is very nuanced, different societies. it is unfair to compare, because there is an exhibit going on now, he just literally got his citizenship so he is american and vietnamese, because he never really quick. we all hear never relinquished our citizenship. you can ask it back. his argument is he will have a lot of difficulty to do it he needs to do in vietnam and to give information to the art community, he feels like in some
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ways, he is more free to do it in vietnam even though it is challenging and difficult than in a vietnamese-american community here which would look at his art and say he is a communist or because he lives in vietnam and does work, that bring some criticism and shown.s not if they would make the same argument about his art. because he this in vietnam, immediately he is a communist, depending on what context into you talk to. >> i would like to share the question related to the other asian americans and asian americans and how it relates to vietnamese americans, you have to make a separation. asian-americans, there is a rebellious,
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antiestablishment, because a lot of people over here do not feel that they have the freedom and the american indians, the mexican-americans, other ethnic groups. and using one example, i didn't mention about daniel's conclusion. he wanted to thank america for andpting him and his family he said one day, he wants to be joining the u.s. army to pay back what america has done for what othert is not asian-americans feel. i am saying that the young asian-americans who speak the it who come from vietnam feel different from the asian-americans who were born here.
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vietnamese americans who were born here, sometimes they will with the overall hyphenated asian-americans and they feel the same. but that is not the same. >> i need to speak up for the vietnamese americans were born here. let's move on to the next question. my question was to follow-up that and get to the heart of the matter. now this becomes more of a democracy discussion and i want to recognize all your achievements and i can only imagine that what you guys would andnd you will rise to you more prominence in the future and become policy shapers and makers. no one has mentioned the late senator mccain who advocated for the agreement with vietnam
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normalization. it is 25 years later. is that working? tothat bringing vietnam democracy. like the mayor said, is a going forward where there will be sometime in the future where there will be some democracy or even full democracy in vietnam ,r should be be, like cuba sanctions, normalization. like to respond to your concerns. u.s. hadnd the relations for the last 20 years. we are aware of that. reason whyhat the
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they want to normalize that relationship is because they want a dialogue, a similar to the case of cuba. however, you have to leave quickly then. years withthan 20 the relation with america, vietnamese communists still violate human rights. follow thet really that was given to us. so what would be the solution? i think one solution that we continue to support many ngos like voice. i think they have been working
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well to promote civil society. to make sure that the vietnamese inside the country understand what human rights are. i don't think communities in vietnam have the same understanding or come up with a definition of human rights like the vietnamese in the u.s.. they have been promoting, advocating for a civil society. by doing that, it will take some time but you need to have a feeling that vietnam must be free. >> one of the issues in the community now is should those who don't have citizenship, not
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just mexican-americans, not just other groups, also vietnamese americans. you can argue that is democracy or injustice. there is a lot of instances of that, so i want to put out that not everyone is a grateful refugee. not everyone is thankful. a lot are critical of what is happening in vietnam and put the blame on u.s. involvement. i want to prevent -- present a more balanced point of view because i live in a world where there is more of that balance. people to visit vietnam, because i think in the vietnamese american community, i have been in situations where community members who talk to vietnamese officials or business people, they say i want the next generation to know vietnam. if i go back to vietnam and do business, i will be ripped off or i will be hurt.
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i think that has been put out there, so we talk about vietnam in this scary way and i'm not saying vietnam is perfect. certainly not. i've seen many odd things in vietnam, but i encourage you to be there and see were some of the changes happened and where some still need to happen. you.ank we have five people to ask questions and i would like to get you all in, so please ask short questions and please answer quickly. >> i would to follow up on the question of just posed and ask if the 1.5 and second-generation vietnamese here on the panel, are you not optimistic that the economic liberalization, the opening up of the economy, increased investment from willeas, increased trade
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eventually subvert the communist party and force a degree of political liberalization and do we see any evidence of those trends happening? >> i appreciate that question. about adam smith. founder of free-trade philosophy. similar to the case of china, whether you are black or white, similar to the case of vietnam, i don't believe it will continue to provide many economic opportunities. vietnam will be free in the future. i believe that people need to fight for and continue to
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promote their concerns. >> thank you. >> this question is for daniel. i will ask in vietnamese, probably very poorly, then again in english. vietnamese] how do you, after so much trial have the strength to continue on? in english, i've asked that daniel as some of you continues the good protests, how do you continue it?
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as for me, who was born in vietnam and raised in the u.s., given an education and has probably already gone through 5 million protests, my mother was afraid for me but he is a person who continues on as someone who's afraid for his mother. >> thank you for your question. my english is not well, so i will speak in vietnamese. [speaking vietnamese]
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>> that is a mouthful. when he was eight months old, he was raised by his grandmother and he was born in the old hetrict and lived, so
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understands life and saw how oppressed they have become. regimes, theyese were never treated equally or said that aaniel lot of people get jailed, get tortured and they have been released so they can die outside , to exonerate them of the sins of killing them. so theople die in jail, communists are incorrigible. and he wantshard to be able to grow up normally, because he said i have witnessed so many injustices, i have
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witnessed so many violence and so many torture to my mom. in fact, there is another one i failed to mention when his mom gave birth to the third brother, the communists through her out of the hospital onto the street lying there until his father day -- oneand one hour after her birth. can you believe that? he said in the central highlands, there is no electricity, it has not come there. there is no clean water to use. at any rate, i should have a pen and notes so i can take all of them, but he could ask him for
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more. >> thank you so much. i was in vietnam on and off for 13 years, so many americans come to me and said they have been to vietnam as tourists and they say, have things ever changed? people are happy, they are prosperous, they tell me how much they love the government. i know a pastor who goes to the western islands and tells a different story. my question to you is, am i ,ight to say to these people you don't understand, the government controlling these people. they are doing what the government says for them to do. they are telling you what they are told to tell you. they are required to look prosperous and happy. things in vietnam have probably not changed very much. am i correct about that? >> yes, you are correct. >> yes, i think you are correct. [applause]
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love to have the audience to have been in vietnam who lived or stayed long-term answer that. if you're outside of vietnam, there is only speculation, but if you are in there longer than a couple weeks, that is helpful. you are 100% right. in vietnam, tourist of course you would think it is beautiful and every thing was growing. but if you want to go inside the place where the local police does not want you to go, is very dangerous. they don't want to expose what is happening inside, that they don't want to tell you. what they want to tell you is staged. you have got to tell these
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people, this is what happened here. make things look good. but you are right. of course they will see everything outside looking nice, the economy is growing and all that. but inside, people are living in fear. >> my question would be, why do people keep going back, hundreds of thousands and staying and live and work and invest? that can't be ignored as a history. >> there are different sides of the story. the contributes of the panelists in the audience. do we have any more time or are we out of time? this is the last one? , want to talk about
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thailand, when they met with diversity -- with adversity and running awayng from the communist oppression and torture. he can talk about this. let him say something. vietnamese] >> taking refuge in thailand,
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meeting with a lot of dangers. majority -- simultaneously] i was taken to jail. they had to run off to take refuge in thailand. recently, the police have arrested a lot of them. [speaking simultaneously] we are trying to find a way to help them. i apologize, we're running out of time. we will share next time. [applause]
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>> i am alice. can you hear me? i am a curator here at the national archives and i curated the exhibition upstairs and i have the honor of making closing remarks today, which i promise will be very brief. i wanted to mention that when i met jackie, it was a stroke of luck. i happened to meet her at a tet celebration and i think jackie thinks she was lucky to have ended up posting this symposium. in fact, i feel very fortunate because we were looking for ways to invite the vietnamese-american community to the national archives. i'm thrilled that you are here today and i hope that you will take the opportunity to visit the exhibition if you haven't
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already. we're keeping the museum open until 7:00 p.m. to allow you to do that. finally, i just want to think jackie and her team of volunteers for an expertly run, beautifully orchestrated symposium. i want to thank the education staff here for making everything happen, as well as the foundation for the national archives, which was very helpful as well. finally, i would like to leave you with a metaphor for what i think happened here today. it is not my metaphor. i stole it, but i still from the best. that is inetaphor the book nothing ever dies. his family left vietnam when he was two years old and he recently won a macarthur genius grant, which is why i say i still from the best. he ends the book talking about reburial in vietnam, and ancient
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tradition after several years of digging up the buns of the dead and cleansing them and then re-burying them in another place. metaphor for what we did here today and what he was doing with his book, after a certain amount of time, we are able to look at our history from a different perspective and clearly from the conversation and questions here today, those bones were ready to be dug up. i hope these conversations continue and once again, if you haven't already visited the expedition, and thank you so much for the panelists and the audience. i know many of you came from far away. it was wonderful to have you here. thank you. [applause]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] announcer 1: you are watching american history tv on c-span3. history bookshelf, colin dickey talks about his book ghost land, and american history in haunted places, where he examines american history turbulence a popular ghost stories and haunted places to better understand why certain people and locations are remembered and others are not. this was recorded at politics and prose bookstore in 2017. it is about one hour.

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