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