Vietnamese government fears Black April Day bill would open up old wounds

Vietnamese diaspora politics on how to commemorate the events following the fall of Saigon. Not surprisingly, the Conservatives favour an approach that links it to their general approach to events related to Communism; others favour an approach that focuses more on the Canadian story of welcoming Vietnamese refugees:

Conservative Senator Thanh Ngo sponsored the Black April Day Act, currently at second reading in the Senate.

“It has the general aim of bringing the attention of all Canadians to the events and suffering that followed the fall of Saigon after the Vietnam War in 1975. It would also shed light on the fundamental role that Canadians played in rescuing and welcoming thousands of Vietnamese refugees,” says a page on Mr. Ngo’s website that promotes the bill.

“Too little is known about the struggles and the atrocities that followed the devastating Vietnamese war,” Mr. Ngo told the Senate on April 30 of this year.

Too few Canadians are aware of Canada’s diplomatic work serving on international truce commissions during the Vietnam War, he said.

The war ended on April 30, 1975 with the fall of the then-southern capital, Saigon, to Northern forces. Mr. Ngo arrived in Canada as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975 after working as a diplomat for the government of South Vietnam prior to the fall of its capital. He was unavailable for an interview, spokesperson Tanya Wood wrote in an email.

Mr. Ngo’s experience contrasts with that of Mr. Vu, whose father and brother fought for the Communist forces that would prevail in the war.

Vietnamese loyal to the prevailing North suffered during the war as well, said Mr. Vu. He said an explosion killed his grandmother while she sat in an improvised bomb shelter during the Christmas bombing campaign in 1972.

“Everything was leveled, only a bomb crater was seen,” he said

If passed, the Black April Day Act would bring up bad blood remaining from the war among Vietnamese at home and abroad, he said.

“The war [gave] a lot of wounds to us, to Vietnam, and we have been trying to make every effort to heal the war wounds. So we think that opening up these wounds, that [does] not help, and it only causes continuing hatred and division from inside the country and outside,” he said.

Canada’s government has been supportive of Vietnamese reconciliation efforts in the years since the war, he said, something for which the government of Vietnam is grateful.

Vietnamese government fears Black April Day bill would open up old wounds | Embassy – Canada’s Foreign Policy Newspaper.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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