Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quynh Dinh-Week 10

The Epilogue: Remembering the Forgetting of Schlund-Vials “War, Genocide, and Justice” concludes at the end “what characterizes and categorizes Cambodian American memory work is a generational impulse to constantly remember the forgetting as an alternative means to justice, reclamation, and reparation” (pg. 194). Indeed the genocide caused by the Khmer Rouge left an enormous wound in the Cambodian refugees and those who survived through it. The history need to be told so that we know to value human rights, morals and social justice. Many artists put their effort in keeping the “memory” in variety of art works—film, music, poems, memoir...One example that I like is Ali’s poem “Visiting Loss”:
        I will return to a country I have never known
        that burns a hole inside my heart the size of home
        When I arrive, 
        …will I ask these same questions
        or will I be asked to prove my belonging
This short stanza speaks a lot for Cambodian Americans who are born in America and have never return to Cambodia. They feel missing “home” in their heart because they do not have a chance to physically make connection to their homeland since they are born here. And when they decide to come back, they worry if they would be recognized as a Cambodian and be accepted or would they “be asked to prove [their] belonging”—What do they have in order to prove their “connection”, their identity? This is not only a concern to Cambodian American but also to other ethnic groups that grow up in America. Where do they actually belong to? What is their true identity? The precious thing they own is “memory” which they collect in books and all kinds of media. And I wonder is that enough for them, for us to understand everything about their homeland, about the war, genocide and hardship?

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