In the course of history, why has there been those brutal wars that caused millions and millions of casualties? Why were those citizens killed, had their families torn apart, had their thoughts suppressed and forced to become refugees? Why did these innocent people needed to starve to death, leave their homes and do not even have access to basic human rights? Why?
I have been exploring pieces of answers to those lingering questions above and what I found out was excruciating.
I studied the history of the Vietnam wars, focusing on Communism and Democratic war between dominating countries. When the United States strongly supported the Democracy system, there were countries who opposed this and fought for communism instead. One of those countries were Vietnam, and the different beliefs of political systems between leaders broke the country apart. There is when the wars between the Northern Communists led by Ho Chi Minh supported by the Soviet Union and Southern troops supported by the US begins.
After relentless fights that causes countless casualties of armies, and innocent people, the Northern Communists took over Saigon on the 30th of April, 1975, and there is when the chaos grew in a blink of an eye.
Thousands of South Vietnamese escaped the took-over land, left behind their homes, risking their lives. These refugees did whatever it takes to leave.
I followed the painful life of a ten-year-old Vietnamese girl, Ha, whose father was captured and had to fight for her fate. Ha’s diary was expressed in vividly-painted poems that describes the pain of each days she coped through during the South Vietnam war. She called the diary: “Inside Out and Back Again”.
The poems inside the diaries reveals Ha’s rebellious and wild character. She was born into a war-bound country with history of brutal colonization, slavery, but also a country with stories of brave and rebellious heroes. She was trying to become one of them. Ha was a girl who questions the world around her and always fights for a difference.
Ha did not let her father’s absence, the fact that she is the youngest girl in the family, and especially the chaos the wars brought to her, affect her ambitions to fight for what she thinks is right. However, the tragic shapes her to be a strong and fierce girl who learns to see the beauty of the world and remain strong even in the darkest days of her refugee experience.
Yes, her family decided to flee their homes just like hundreds of thousands of other people as well, leaving behind all of the treasured memories and her father. But these struggles are just the beginning of a much harder journey her family was about to take. Throughout her journey, Ha experienced extreme hunger, thirst, and for the first time, she learned what a refugees battle is like.
After the days on the refugee camp island, lucky to be evacuated by the US navies, she arrived at Alabama, the home of an American host. There is when I cried, learning about the extreme discrimination this little girl was going through in the foreign land. However, she remains strong and stand against the wind.
I learned so much from Ha’s life and her overwhelming strength against the chaos hit me.
This is just a life out of over 120,000 refugees who escaped South Vietnam.
There were many more stories of tragedies, loss, evacuate missions, bravery and strength, buried in the heart of these people, the victim of the war.
These stories were the prove that the world deserves peace. The people deserve a life where they can freely express their thoughts, without being prosecuted for their identity, assumed identity. The people deserve freedom. They deserve protection for their basic human rights. They want and fully deserve well-lived lives.
I hope we will learn from the past and avoid stepping on these dark paths of history again.