The Unheard and Unseen
Even before the United States of America was established as a country, war had always been a part of its history. Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse not only highlights countless war atrocities committed by the United States military, but also shows how American troops came to see all Vietnamese as the "enemy". This dangerous mentality of fearing the "other" allows those on the battlefield to see someone as subhuman, making it all the easier to kill them. During the Vietnam War, it did not matter whether you were a 3 year old child, a mother, a father, a 70 year old grandpa or an uncle -- you were seen as the enemy.
The silencing of American Vietnam War atrocities has led to the American public almost forgetting about the severity of injustice that took place less than 50 years ago. The ways in which the vast number of innocent, Vietnamese lives lost during the war continue to affect the Southeast Asian American community. Turse talked about intentional village massacres, "free-zone" killings, bombing raids, mutilation, rape and the list goes on. Today, many eyewitnesses and survivors of these cruel acts hardly speak about their experiences. There are physical damages, like amputees and scars. However, the most painful damage has been done internally in the minds and hearts of Southeast Asian Americans, ranging from trauma to mental illnesses.
I find it a bit difficult to connect this reading to anything that is currently happening in our world because I want to believe in the goodness that America has to offer. I want to believe that America has learned from its past mistakes and no longer wants to build off of genocide and the violation of human life. But, I do I know that this is not the case and that we are far from being better. Right now, America is trying to silence the voices of Native Americans as they fight against the construction of oil pipelines. I believe that many Americans do not understand why this is so oppressive for the same reasons they did not understand the real American War in Vietnam, that is because of suppression of stories in the media. If there is anything I'd ask, it's this, are we learning to be and do better or are we only learning to hide stories and silence voices better?
|This is a screenshot of tweets about the National Day of Protest on #NoDapl that I retweeted on my personal Twitter account.|
Turse, Nick. Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. Henry Holt and company. New York: 2013. 23 January 2017.