Judy Tzu-Chun Wu’s Radicals on The Road approached a take on anti-war sentiments and the notion of unity by highlighting the alliances of women who found common struggles in a war-driven and patriarchal society. Wu noted the process of building “global sisterhood,” but within there is a lingering argument that this type of solidarity is yet again spearheaded and dominated by the West who considers this coalition of sisterhood as a moral obligation to save oppressed women in non-Western societies (193). The formation of the Indochinese Women’s Conference (IWC) hopes to rearticulate and rethink global sisterhood as a way to discuss peacekeeping movements, political multiplicities, and building alliances with women through their common struggles (195). This notion of looking for common grounds and alliances is relevant to the theme that we discussed last week, the theme of countering master narratives through the personal accounts of those who were involved in the Viet Nam war proposes that these unheard women alliances offer a window to the kind of camaraderie between women who are interconnected through their personal experiences, suppressed stories, and injustices. This reframes a masculine narrative and repositions a part of history that was not talked about in the general context of the Vietnam war. As Wu puts it, “These journeys invariably reaffirmed and further motivated that traveler’s engagement in the antiwar movement. The women from North and South Vietnam who cultivated and encouraged international contact with women in the struggle for peace and national liberation (199).” These conferences and alliances of different women from across the globe empower a narrative that is centered on the women’s perspective, these formations and perspectives shed light on the untold stories of women’s struggles during the war.
Forming alliances through common grounds and commonalities are not things of the past; the current political climate and administrations only strengthen these alliances through their powerful movements. Comfort women who recently gained international attention shed light on the horrific narratives comfort stations during World War II. Comfort women were tricked into becoming prostitutes for soldiers during the war. The emotional accounts of comfort women survivors offers us a view on the untold accounts of the underside trade of human exploitation and trafficking during World War II. The Apology is a PBS documentary that revisits the history of comfort women who worked as sex slaves during the war. Tiffany Hsiung, the director of the film, followed the lives of surviving comfort women and recorded their personal accounts as the historical basis for the re-narration – the true narration of atrocities that happened during World War II. This justifies the questions surrounding the suppressed women who did not get any compensation or recognition despite the abuse they endured in the past. Through the documentary, Tiffany formed alliances with other women to capture the essence and historical significance of comfort women as the unheard victims of the war. The documentary was released two years ago, and it offers a serious inquiry and line of questioning in terms of how much history is still out there that is needed to be unearthed before it dies with the people who witnessed it?
Judy Tzu-Chun Wu. Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism During the Vietnam Era. 2013. Introduction; Part III: Journeys for Global Sisterhood - Chapter 7 “We Met the ‘Enemy’–and They Are Our Sisters”
PBS. “The Apology.” PBS. POV. 8 November 2018. https://www.pbs.org/pov/watch/theapology/video-theapology-history-of-comfort-women/