Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Denial is A River in Vietnam

The government of Malaysia has condemned a memorial to the Boat People erected on Bidong Island, the transition point for refugees from Vietnam. The government of Vietnam has made the request. BBC doesn't say why the request was made. I suppose that that the victimizer naturally resents a memorial to the victims. The Turks are going through the same thing with the Armenians -- still, after 100 years. The Japanese still have some difficulty with the Chinese in this regard.

Conversely, we need to give credit to the Germans, who have so thoroughly disavowed the actions of the Nazis. There is, of course, a remnant, but the Germans have, by and large, changed. They have changed for the better. And so have we. We should give ourselves credit for expunging the ghosts of slavery and attempted genocide. I have no time for people who say otherwise, that our imperial tendencies remain unchecked, unmodified in any way.

In the case of the Boat People, Vietnam is hoping in its Marxist way, to make a page of history disappear. This makes a bizarre contrast with those Americans still in Vietnam searching for the least remnant of a memory of every last casualty and missing POW, scraping the jungle for the last broken tooth, the last torn bit of rotting cloth. What must they think of this obsessive investigation? I suspect they are secretly terrified of that hunger for truth. They remain, I am sure, astounded at their military victory, thinking it must have been for some good purpose. The possibility that they would have been better off losing must cause them a lot of cognitive dissonance.

6/15/2005 11:57 AM

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At Wednesday, June 15, 2005 3:31:00 PM, Blogger mal said...

I suspect the current vietnamese government does not care to be reminded that the "revolution" and "liberation" was not a universally supported activity. The fact that some choose to leave is an insult to their "truth" that they refuse to acknowledge.

In contrast to refugees fleeing from such havens of freedom as Viet Nam, we should consider the problems of our own people fleeing the United State. However, amidst all the shouting and posturing that goes on at times, I have not noticed anyone getting on a leaky boat to get out of here. Have you seen them?

Regarding Europe, the Pax Americana that began after WW II and really took root with the Marshal Plan, has led to longest conflict free period in European history. Considering the state of our European relations, whatever our "Imperial" ambitions have been, it certainly has not been about control.

At Friday, June 17, 2005 3:30:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

There were a handful of Americans who defected during the Korean War. I believe one was recently turned over to Japan. There are stories of Americans going over to the Soviet Union in the 20's and during WWII, but none to the Nazis (though there were Nazis, and still are, in the US). I don't think too many defected in Vietnam, and certainly not the Persian Gulf. A certain number stayed in Japan after the Occupation.

At Sunday, June 19, 2005 10:43:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

I think the popular viewpoint is that people who "defect" from the US are deranged. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, I can't imagine that our government would do all that much about it. And on the back side, I don't think that we would give them a lot of grief if they wanted to come back, though we might keep a close eye on them for a while.

Can you imagine rafting to Cuba, running ashore and hiding to blend in with the population? Please Mr. Castro, don't make me go back to that terrible place. Maybe if you were an antique car fan. Got to have those Studebakers.


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