A refugee is an official classification. VIET THANH NGUYEN: Well, in my mind it was, “Hmm, Troy?” So you laugh. Viet and Ariel, we welcome you both to Democracy Now! They’re unwanted where they come to. ARIEL DORFMAN: To Tommy, for instance, right, yeah. David Bezmozgis After the fall of Saigon in 1975, he and his family fled to the United States. It’s just that it doesn’t hit the corporate media radar screen. Even for readers seeking to help, the sheer scale of the problem renders the experience of refugees hard to comprehend. All the refugees of the world, or all the neglect—all the dead of history, I feel as if, are my brothers and sisters in that sense. —PBS Online, “Poignant and timely, these essays ask us to live with our eyes wide open during a time of geo-political crisis. I could not ever change my name, because I think it—that was my psychic connection to Vietnam, but also my statement of defiance, as well. Your email address will not be published. And Americans, I think, in particular, have a hard time imagining empathy for refugees, because we just can’t imagine that we might be a country that produces refugees—except we have Puerto Rico, except we have Hurricane Katrina. Literary, translation, and film rights are handled by Nat Sobel at … His fictional depictions of the effects of displacement has earned him a MacArthur "genius grant." Having more voices for the voiceless is a temporary measure, but achieving situations where everybody has their voice heard would require a radical reorganization of our society. Now, in that essay that I contributed there, I take a sort of tongue-in-cheek thing about Drumpf’s wall, saying, “You’ll build your wall”—or, I say, of course, he’s not going to build, he can’t possibly build it—”but we’re already here.” And I use it through Latin American food, saying the food is in supermarkets, it’s everywhere. Then I wandered around the world and ended up in the States. And I don’t know. Then we went to Chile. Today the world faces an enormous refugee crisis: 68.5 million people fleeing persecution and conflict from Myanmar to South Sudan and Syria, a figure worse than flight of Jewish and other Europeans during World War II and beyond anything the world has seen in this generation. But I do find it—I find that it gives me hope. Living in exile, Ariel Dorfman became one of General Pinochet’s most vocal critics, as well as a celebrated playwright and novelist. The Refugees Summary T he Refugees is a collection of short stories by Viet Thanh Nguyen about Vietnamese immigrants and their children, many of whom … And the ancestors of this typical American kid, one group from France and one group from Germany, have directly to do with the capture and the photography of that subject. Find books He wrote The Refugees, or edited this book. AMY GOODMAN: And you, Ariel, contributed an essay in The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives, that is Viet’s book. And I like the idea of smuggling ourselves across the border, which, by the way, of course, is a border which was created by a U.S. invasion of Mexico. If they formed their own country, it would be the world’s 24th largest—bigger than South Africa, Spain, Iraq or Canada.”. . —The San Francisco Chronicle, “Powerful and deeply moving personal stories about the physical and emotional toll one endures when forced out of one’s homeland.” In this era of President Drumpf, as President Drumpf and Vice President Pence head to Dallas today to speak at the National Rifle Association, and this caravan that President Drumpf has railed against has made it to the U.S.-Mexico border, the participants lawfully applying for asylum one by one, your thoughts? Viet Thanh Nguyen is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.His novel, “The Sympathizer,” won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2016. VIET THANH NGUYEN: President Clinton, President Obama, despite their rhetoric and despite their praise of certain kinds of inclusionary attitudes towards refugees and immigrants and minorities and women and so on, yes, they were responsible for various kinds of policies that had negative impacts on minority populations and on immigrant and refugee populations. Number one, it’s very inaccurate, as you say, you know? Dorfman, who teaches at Duke University, has just published a new novel, Darwin’s Ghost, and a new collection of essays titled Homeland Security Ate My Speech. ", "One of my father’s greatest gifts to me, and indirectly to his grandchildren, is this: His decision to immigrate has allowed me to be the parent he could never be. Featuring original essays by a collection of writers from around the world, The Displaced is an indictment of closing our doors, and a powerful look at what it means to be forced to leave home and find a place of refuge. So I think it’s a powerful political protest that’s bringing to visibility the human crises that are taking place around these efforts for people to move. Well, I mean, what I said in that New York Timespiece was, basically, “You know, America, you are now, legitimately, speaking about how the Russians intervened in your elections, right? And we already had this conversation when we were editing that book, right? And, of course, behind that is the whole idea that I have about America, America being innocent about its past. My books are called—you know, The Sympathizer was called an immigrant novel, and I said, “That’s absolutely wrong.” I’m a refugee. It’s a great honor to have you with us. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. They’ve always been with us. So that—you know, he did not take the most famous, let’s say, refugees. They asked me, “Do you want to change your name?” And I thought—. So, in order to leave the camp, you had to have a sponsor. Well, today we spend the hour with two of the nation’s most celebrated writers, both refugees themselves. To them, she’s come from another world, an obscure and incomprehensible world, and now resides in the shadows of this one—an alien entity, an intruder. A big congratulations to Viet Thanh Nguyen, who is joining the Pulitzer Prize Board as its first Asian-American and Vietnamese-American member. And I call them “the zombies of the world” because I think many people don’t think of refugees as human, and they’re not really oftentimes depicted as human in media reports. But in terms of doing things like writing op-eds for The New York Times or The Washington Post, I think simply being present there in these organs of mainstream mass media, writing in English, is itself, I hope, a kind of statement, especially with a name like mine, which I’ve always refused to change. And, you know, it’s a Western import, but they’ve made it their own. Forty-five years ago, he fled Chile, after a U.S.-backed coup displaced President Salvador Allende. Viet, let us begin with you. ", "For four years, [my father’s] family lived deep inside Russia, a time characterized by constant hunger. VIET THANH NGUYEN: Yeah, I think people mean that as a compliment, but it’s not really a compliment. It’s very, very important for that to happen. Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Sympathizer,” goes silent for a moment. I now get to be the parent who stays. Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen called on 17 fellow refugee writers from across the globe to shed light on their experiences, and the result is The Displaced, a powerful dispatch from the individual lives behind current headlines, with proceeds to support the International Rescue Committee (IRC). And, for me, I always felt this burden that, as an Asian American, as someone from Asia, I’m not expected to speak English or to speak it well, so there was always a huge opportunity here for me to disprove that and, even more than that, to prove that I could be better at English than people who were born here and who claim American identity. Now, these people are moving for all kinds of various reasons, but sometimes they’re moving because of wars of certain kinds—drug wars or actual shooting wars and things like that—that the United States has had a role in. We don’t like what is being done to us. Ariel Dorfman was cultural adviser to the Chilean President Salvador Allende, who went down and died in the palace in Santiago, September 11, 1973, on the first day of that coup. What do we do with those people who have been hurt by our ancestors? A year earlier, nearly 40,000 refugees entered during that same period—four times more. I’m just saying, the important thing is that this intervention of the Russians in the U.S. election should not be only a case of lamentation about, oh, how terrible this is, oh. Of course they probably had seen refugees—people like myself, not the huddled desperate dangerous characters who were portrayed in the popular media. We’re also joined by Chilean-American writer Ariel Dorfman, who’s been described as one of the greatest Latin American novelists. An estimated 60 million such stateless people exist, 1 in every 122 people alive today. Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1971. June 21, 2018 V iet Thanh Nguyen’s The Displaced collects essays by refugee writers about refugee lives. AMY GOODMAN:Ludwing van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” this one performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Featuring original essays by a collection of writers from around the world, The Displaced … That’s a part of American history. I mean, but they were called savages as such, right? Posted on May 4, 2018    This panel, a part of BookCon, was moderated by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. 404D Taper Hall ", "The recent upsurge in bigotry directed at migrants and refugees is predictably contingent upon their dehumanization and deindividualization—they are presented and thought of as a mass of nothings and nobodies, driven, much like zombies, by an incomprehensible, endless hunger for what ‘we’ possess, for ‘our’ life. AMY GOODMAN: Last night, I heard you in conversation at the New York Public Library, Viet, speaking with Arundhati Roy, who was our guest yesterday, the great writer from India. The Displaced | Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen called on 17 fellow refugee writers from across the globe to shed light on their experiences, and the result is The Displaced… And in 1975, when Vietnam fell, or was liberated, depending on your point of view, my family became refugees. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, he and his family fled to the United States. ", "What is certain. Lev Golinkin The United States has been meddling in the southern countries south of the border for a very long time, and would rather think about these people as undocumented immigrants or people who are trying to invade this country, when in fact questions of immigration are totally related to U.S. foreign policy and U.S. drug policy and things like this that the United States would rather disavow. Pinochet also defeated us, because the neoliberal policies continued on and on and on and on. On Saturday, I’ll be speaking in Catonsville, Maryland, at the Catonsville Presbyterian Church on the 50th anniversary of the anniversary of the Catonsville 9 protesting the Vietnam War. I’m very interested in love stories now, because I think it’s very important that we understand how that love and a woman—especially I’m interested in empowering women in the stories, right? So, it’s very important that when we look at these situations, we put them in the context of things the United States has done, because it would allow the people of the United States to say, “You know what? And one of the things that traumatizes me now, sincerely, Amy, is that I thought that, in some sense, this couldn’t happen again, and I find it happening all over again in some very strange authoritarian way. The editing is by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanah Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam before the fall of South Vietnam … In The Displaced, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, himself a refugee, brings together a host of prominent refugee writers to explore and illuminate the refugee experience. And having a president that is as nice and as articulate and as intelligent as President Obama didn’t really change these kinds of American imperial policies. For review copies or bookstore events, contact publicity@groveatlantic.com for The Sympathizer or The Refugees and Margaux Leonard of Harvard University Press for Nothing Ever Dies. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma There’s a gentleness that we have to find in our relationship. So, I feel as if that’s my major concern now. It stayed with him for the rest of his life. I’ve met many Americans of the generation of the war, whether they were soldiers or antiwar protesters or just people observing on TV. Joseph Azam If you call yourself an immigrant, then people want to know about your American dream story. I am Latin American, as well. LISTEN TO THE INTRODUCTION NOW* And I just emerged in English. Viet Thanh Nguyen is a Vietnamese American novelist and academic whose books include The Refugees, Nothing Ever Dies, Race and Resistance, and a new edited collection, The Displaced, alongside his best-selling, Pulitzer Prize winning book The Sympathizer.Nguyen, University Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of … ARIEL DORFMAN: It’s a wonderful book, the book that he has brought together wonderful voices, really. ARIEL DORFMAN: —as a reaction to that. ", "We were the ones who dressed a little differently and carried our lunches in repurposed plastic shopping bags that could never be tied tightly enough to contain the unfamiliar aromas from our home kitchens. Forty-five years ago, he fled Chile after a U.S.-backed coup displaced President Salvador Allende. I think that until we—until Americans deal—and I feel myself an American in that sense, very proudly so, as a Chilean American, Argentine American—I feel I’m a Vietnamese American, I feel these are all the possibilities. They did terrible things to us. Your browser does not support the audio element. Between October and the end of March, just 10,500 refugees entered the United States. — Entertainment Weekly, “In this collection of 17 essays (one consisting of cartoons) by writers who were forced to leave their homes, Viet Thanh Nguyen, a Pulitzer-winning novelist and himself a Vietnamese refugee to America, begins to assemble one. The author of three books, Nguyen is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at University of Southern California. AMY GOODMAN: People who are listening on the radio can’t see that you’re using air quotes. VIET THANH NGUYEN: Well, I think that for many people like me, we were stunned and shocked and in a state of crisis, as we tried to figure out what this election of Donald Drumpf meant. But, you know, basically, we tell love stories, we tell betrayal stories, we tell stories about everyday people, and we hope that some of the voices will seep through. In The Displaced, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, himself a refugee, brings together a host of prominent refugee writers to explore and illuminate the refugee experience. That’s a part of the American character. ARIEL DORFMAN: The first time I gave him a hug, but we’ve been talking on email back and forth. (function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "https://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })(); "The book is being published at a time when discourse around refugees has shifted distressingly in the Trump era, with new caps on refugee settlement being instituted and immigration bans remaining clear policy positions.” Download books for free. And as a writer, what I like is to take those voices, that are not voiceless—they speak very strongly—the faces of those people, and bring them into the country and put them inside our own dreams and find out what happens. Ariel Dorfman, best-selling author, playwright, poet, activist, new book is Darwin’s Ghosts, a novel, before that, a book of essays, Homeland Security Ate My Speech: Messages from the End of the World. AMY GOODMAN: So, Ariel Dorfman, it was great to see you reading from your new novel last night, Darwin’s Ghosts, and we’ll try to get to that in this hour. VIET THANH NGUYEN: You know, when my parents became citizens, they asked me—and they changed their names. AMY GOODMAN: —that have constituted so much of our lives. ARIEL DORFMAN: So, you know, in the 19th century, as colonialism rose all over the world, and Europe expanded, very, very drastically, not everybody could go and visit these countries and see these exotic “savages,” these natives. We are joined by two remarkable refugees. Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1971. So it moves me enormously. He goes down to celebrate his birthday, September 11, 1981, and they take a photograph of him, a Polaroid. AMY GOODMAN: In your book The Displaced, you write in the introduction, “I was once a refugee, although no one would mistake me for being a refugee now. In our case, it was Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania. It gives me hope to find a space where the pain that I have endured and that others have endured of my community, which is an enormous community, right? You’re writing this—because they say that to me all the time. ", "I am ever working, overworking, because I’m aware of the potential, as a non-white body and passport holder from ‘Africa,’ without the safety of ‘being at home,’ of my easy disposal from the political imagination of the world. Reyna Grande questions the line between “official” refugee and “illegal” immigrant, chronicling the disintegration of the family forced to leave her behind; Fatima Bhutto visits Alejandro Iñárritu’s virtual reality border crossing installation “Flesh and Sand”; Aleksandar Hemon recounts a gay Bosnian’s answer to his question, “How did you get here?”; Thi Bui offers two uniquely striking graphic panels; David Bezmozgis writes about uncovering new details about his past and attending a hearing for a new refugee; and Hmong writer Kao Kalia Yang recalls the courage of children in a camp in Thailand. Long before we left that dry, dusty, hungry place, it was they who taught us how to venture beyond our captivity.". Joseph Kertes Then my dad had to leave, because the military were persecuting him in 1944, to the United States. I could go on and on and on, on about this. Leave a comment →, As dozens of migrants from Central America remain camped out at the U.S.-Mexico border attempting to seek asylum in the United States, we spend the hour with two of the nation’s most celebrated writers, both refugees themselves. He is also the editor of a new collection titled “The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives.” We are also joined by the Chilean-American writer Ariel Dorfman, who has been described as one of the greatest Latin American novelists. Dorfman, who teaches at Duke University, has just published a new novel, “Darwin’s Ghosts,” and a new collection of essays titled “Homeland Security Ate My Speech.” He also contributed an essay to “The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives.”. AMY GOODMAN: Your life is a lesson to everyone in this country, Viet. ARIEL DORFMAN: That whole idea of the exotic, of that they’re different. VIET THANH NGUYEN: Well, one of the essays in The Displaced is by Reyna Grande, who came as an undocumented immigrant. We want to give voice to all those losses that would otherwise remain unheard except by us and those near and dear to us.” And in a previous book, in your book Nothing Ever Dies, you write, “All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” Explain. Required fields are marked *. You do not arrive the same as when you left. He’s also the author of Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War. It’s as if—it’s as if the fabulous of Latin America, which I speak of magical realism, things like that, all of a sudden surfaces inside an American kid. Monuments Project: Expanding the American Story, Catch Viet at one of these appearances in the coming months and say hello! And what do we do with the past? —The Millions. And I grew up surrounded by people who were constantly telling stories filled with anger and sadness and rage and bitterness and melancholy. AMY GOODMAN: You talked about refugees so often being the victims of U.S. policy, foreign policy. The standoff at the U.S. border comes as a new report shows the number of refugees, especially Muslim refugees, has plummeted since President Drumpf’s election. Department of English The community celebration offers music, dance, art, speaker series,… (read more), Viet Thanh Nguyen ", "For those who can never quite accept her, a refugee is like a ghost. And his legacy is always there, so memory is very important to me in that sense, as well. And I think Drumpf is the incarnation—really, incarnation—and the excrement of that denial of the past. It has its founding myths, but its citizens all have their own tragedies, victories and pain—and each has a story to tell.” VIET THANH NGUYEN: I think they have the right to do that. And from that moment onward, he is haunted by that face, but not haunted only in the sense—. So, instead of celebrating the fact that this country—you know, if you go to São Paulo, Santiago de Chile or Mexico City, you can’t find Brazilian food next to Colombian food next to food from El Salvador. "I was once a refugee, although no one would mistake me for being a refugee now. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, he and his family fled to the United States. So, the idea behind this is, we are going to find out that one of those photographs, the man whose photograph is being plastered on the face of this young American kid, in fact, was a captive in a human zoo in Europe. Because of this, I insist on being called a refugee, since the temptation to pretend that I am not a refugee is strong. And so, that’s why I still think of myself as a refugee, because that experience has been branded on me. ", "I think of all the routes of emigration taken by refugees like us, routes that have been carved into memory, into family stories. 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