After the Massacre: Commemoration and Consolation in Ha My by Heonik Kwon

By Heonik Kwon

Even though a new release has handed because the bloodbath of civilians at My Lai, the legacy of this tragedy keeps to reverberate all through Vietnam and the remainder of the realm. This engrossing learn considers how Vietnamese villagers in My Lai and Ha My--a village the place South Korean troops devoted an both appalling, even though much less famous, bloodbath of unarmed civilians--assimilate the disaster of those mass deaths into their daily ritual life.Based on a close examine of neighborhood background and ethical practices, After the bloodbath makes a speciality of the actual context of family existence within which the Vietnamese villagers engage with their ancestors on one hand and the ghosts of tragic demise at the different. Heonik Kwon explains what intimate ritual activities can let us know concerning the historical past of mass violence and the worldwide bipolar politics that brought on it. He highlights the aesthetics of Vietnamese commemorative rituals and the morality in their sensible activities to disencumber the spirits from their grievous background of demise. the writer brings those very important practices right into a serious discussion with dominant sociological theories of demise and symbolic transformation.

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Extra info for After the Massacre: Commemoration and Consolation in Ha My and My Lai (Asia: Local Studies Global Themes)

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In a number of cases that I investigated in the area, the remaining elders had either children or close relatives working in the local partisan force, and thus they stayed on to keep in touch with them as well as supply them with food. After a successful action against the enemy, the militiamen in Quang Ngai temporarily evacuated the area and encouraged the villagers to do likewise. They knew that postambush retaliatory acts against civilians had become a routine phenomenon by the summer of 1966.

Those who remained in the village were mainly elders who maintained the rice paddies and vegetable plots in the absence of their families. In 1966, in the Binh Son district of Quang Ngai province, the local militiamen were consolidated with expeditionary units of the regular North Vietnamese forces. This large fighting force relied partly on the scattered, barely populated villages for food and information. In a number of cases that I investigated in the area, the remaining elders had either children or close relatives working in the local partisan force, and thus they stayed on to keep in touch with them as well as supply them with food.

A dead revolutionary villager and “inhabitant-soldier” became a mere villager, even if she was killed while fulfilling her active political and military duty “to defend the village” (tru bam). 47 Mass civilian death was tham sat (tragic mass death), which offered no generative meanings or positive commemorative possibilities. The official approach to war death in contemporary Vietnam is to preserve heroic death and to transcend tragic death in the nation’s modified march toward a prosperous future.

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