ASA 150E 001
11 January 2020
In the chapter called “Refugee Postmemories: The ‘Generation After’” of Yen Le Espiritu’s Body Counts, she discusses the trauma that the children of refugees face. A phenomenon called “generational trauma,” which essentially is trauma transferred from one generation to another, takes root here. The traumas faced by refugees of Southeast Asian countries surviving wars in their homeland then become the children’s, whether it is children who witnessed war or even children of the children who witnessed said war. This emphasizes the horrors of war and how profound it is that these are children who bare the brunt of not understanding their own histories, not from their own families and definitely not by educational systems. One of the most tragic and profound things I found from this piece was the fact that schools erase their histories and their families have suffered too heavily to even talk about what has happened, and so that leaves these children of refugees without understanding. It really is an interesting thing to think about homeland and familial history, especially when you may come from families that refuse to talk about their histories. I know that my family rarely talks about where they come from and that the only accepted reality is that we came to America for a better life and that is why I have the life that I have, but it is so strange to think that it isn’t a given to talk about those things that you have to pry them out to know, if you’re lucky. Even now, there are things that I don’t understand, and I realize that if I want to know, I have to ask now, because my grandma is old and I may not get the chance later on. That’s an entire history that could go forgotten there; an entire piece of myself that I may not know if I push it off any longer, and that’s quite uncomfortable to consider.
The image included is one of refugees fleeing by boat, where families are fleeing together. Their histories are unknown, and it makes me wonder what has become of them and what has happened since.