Saturday, February 4, 2017

Linda Nguyen - Week 5 Blog

Linda Nguyen
ASA150E SEA American Experiences
Professor Valverde

In the reading, Chapter 5: On Becoming Human by Viet Thanh Nguyen, discussed the Forgotten War that the Korea fought in Vietnam. The Korean war in Vietnam is not remembered by the Koreans, which shows “amnesia and selective memory afflicts every nation” (129-130). South Korea’s success in waging an atrocious war in Vietnam helped it become a strong capitalist country today (134). South Korean reinvent themselves through developing an industry of weaponized memory. Weaponized memory is an act that justifies how the nation’s money was earned, erasing the traces left by those who fought to make those profits possible (151). An example of a weaponized memory is the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul. The War Memorial praises the military services and treasures the memory of the deceased war heroes who devoted and sacrifice their life for their country (135). The War Memorial focuses on the South defending itself against the North. The exhibit is reluctant to address Korean participation in combat, acknowledge the trauma of Korean troop, and the reality of inhumane on the part of its soldiers and of its operations (135-152). Testimonies from South Vietnam soliders reveals how the Korean troops were more aggressive, ruthless killing machines, and killed villagers.

In relation to this week’s theme on “Forgotten, Suppressed, Invisible History” to current events outside of class would be on Nguyen Thai Binh. The US depicted Thai Binh as a crazy mad man that hijacked an airplane on the way back to Vietnam, but research and archival history will say otherwise. Thai Binh was radical, vocal, and supportive of the left or Viet Cong, and would have the U.S. leave South Vietnam. Thai Binh and his friends and had an anti-Vietnam campaign on a college campus at the University of Washington. Similar to the Korean’s silence narratives about their atrocities act in the Forgotten War, the South Vietnamese also silenced narratives about Nguyen Thanh Binh.

Nguyen Thai Binh delivering speech
 at an anti-war forum in the US 

Question: What effects will have on the generations of Koreans who does not know or acknowledge this particular hidden history of the Forgotten War?

Works Cited: 
Viet Thanh Nguyen. Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War. 2016.
Introduction; Chapter 5: On Becoming Human.

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