Thursday, April 28, 2005

After the Fall of Saigon: Unwanted Memory

Vietpundit introduced his reader to Nam Dao, a Vietnamese-Canadian writer. Vietpundit brought up a great article by Nam Dao in Vietnamese, "Vietnam, from ghostly shadow to man." (It is my own translation and I appologize if I butcher the title). The article mentioned story of the author own sisters, prior to escaping from Vietnam, took birth-control pills so that they will not conceived when they are raped.
Vietpundit reminisces:
At that time, I knew about the fact that women took birth-control pills in preparation for being raped, but, at that time, I thought it was an acceptable risk. Why? What was life like that made me think that being raped while escaping was an “acceptable risk”? Of course, now I know that it was an unspeakable horror. And you know what else? I am absolutely ashamed to say that until I read about this fact (the birth-control pills) in Nam Dao’s piece just now, I had forgotten about it. I had forgotten about one of the most painful things in one of the most painful chapters in Vietnamese history. God forgive me.
He was not the only one who have forgotten. I have forgotten too and was reminded of it by him. But unlike him, I am not ashame - not at all. Who would want to remember such a thing. Who would want to remember the savegery, the barbarism, the humiliation, the dishonor, the shame, the fear, and the helplessness that befallen upon us. Who would want to remember that once we were so far from Heaven that Hell is not a metaphor but a living reality. Damn you; I curse you ,Vietpundit, for making me remember. I have forgotten and you should have let me forget. We were mere children - too fragile for the world which we were forced to live in, too weak to endure the experience. Yet by sheer luck, we endured. I was only thirteen years old. It is fortunately that our psyche was not completely destroyed and we were not consumed by madness.
Then comes Neo-Neocon's "A mind is a difficult thing to change" series (hat tip to Vietpundit, you are forgiven) - a sympathetic voice, a mind changer. Her latest installment is finally here. It is an interlude piece, not the long awaited final part, but it is very good. Having read her seris, I am now more sanguine. Perhap if people reflex and meditate upon our suffering, maybe others will not have to suffer. Those Vietnamese women were raped and butchered on the high sea. It is done and history - may their anguish souls rest in peace. Maybe something good come out of it. Perhap a lesson; that there are things far more evil than war.


Blogger VietPundit said...

You're right about the "unwanted memory" part. I think we Vietnamese sometimes are torn between wanting to forget those bad memories and wanting to remember them in honor of the dead.

I've really enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts. Please keep it up.

6:27 PM  
Blogger THIRDWAVEDAVE said...

Always hold the memories of the fallen in your mind. Never forget their suffering for you may help prevent such acts in the future. your post is most touching.

12:16 AM  
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