Memoir on Southeast Asian refugee
The Indochina war was fought in the southeast of Asia in 1947 to 1979. The perpetrators of the war included the French, Americans, and Chinese who were against the Vietnam. The French had come to the country for missionary work that later turned into a colonization of the region. The French managed to convert many people into Catholicism but some people who had an admiration for Chinese religion had wanted to kick out the French (Elliot, 1981). Napoleon The Third sent his forces to the region to respond to the attacks in the following years. Vietnam proposed intentions to govern itself and the French respected their decision. A leader was chosen in Vietnam who would declare the country a republic. It was not long before they would have a conflict with the Chinese government and later stir trouble with the French government. They released the prisoners. The good will was broken and everyone was at the mercy of his or her feet, the question was whether it was wise to leave the country or stay.
Many of the refuges in the country chose to leave. When the independent government came into power and declared the country a republican country. There had been no signs that the county would later go into war. Although there was always, a looming danger with the Chinese people who had always wanted control of the country nobody could foresee the threat of a war that culminated much later. Then the rumors started doing their rounds and people began to see that what they had foreseen was perhaps going to change. It was therefore necessary to take cover before a bigger problem emerged. The sea was not safe place either because the pirates had taken control of the waters. There were rumors that they were attacking refugees as they struggled to leave (Elliot, 1981). The refugees were poor people who had no money to accord them flights besides they would need papers to travel and that would need time because of the paper work was done. Thus, when they heard that the war was breaking out, some of the refugees did not wait to see who the winner would be, and they left immediately. The American soldiers did them a favor by guarding their waters so that they could flee safely.
People began to flee from Vietnam to find safe a place to stay. A boatload carrying some of the refugee was attacked by pirates in the sea and three women abducted others members in the boat were clubbed and thrown in the sea. The boat finally sank and killed all people who were on board (Vietnamese Boat people, 1984). The escape was dangerous but it was worse to stay in the country the pirates roamed the sea and hurt innocent refugees trying to find their way out of the country. Young girls were sexually assaulted and children had to watch their mothers being raped. Most of these victims were people were felling the country of they travel without arms or weapons to defend them.
One such woman was with her two sons who working in the army and her husband. They left the republic of Vietnam to go to Guam refugee camp since the forces pursued them everywhere. The woman had to turn to find alternative means of survival (Hein, 1995). Her family was devastated with the news her husband in particular became depressed and refused to talk anyone. She withdrew all she had from the bank and left with her clothes as the only possession. She did not seem to have a road map of where she was going; to her anywhere was good as long as it was not in Vietnam. Within no time, what used to be a place station became a den of wolves the released prisoners set the place a blaze with their robbery and violence taking over their motorbikes to escape, other stealing from people who were there. She managed to get past the Viet Cong authorities and into the sea where they had hidden their boat, which they would use to escape from the country. The boarded the ship and left. Life in the ship was a tag of war as they fought for water and space.
Her husband had became shadow of himself he did not care where they sat or what they did he was virtually depressed. The tag of war made sleeping in the boat very unpleasant and they remained hostile to each other. They demarcated their sleeping areas with shoes since they were dirty nobody would come near them. In the days that would follow, they took plain rice with no sauce they had nothing to eat and drink. They were later transferred to another ship under the Vietnam authority having being duped that it had water and food to their surprise it was a war ship and did not have even tents. They traveled for three days in the ship with so many other Vietnams family and had a hard time coping with the extreme temperatures (Hein, 1995). The children were so hungry that they woke up in the morning vomiting. An American ship approached them and provided food to the Vietnam people under the instruction that they provide food to the starving families and not the captain of the ship who would have kept for himself and refuse to share.
That was the day, in a long time, that they got different type of food other than rice. The American asked the Vietnam people to put down their flag and to erect an American one. The following day at nine in the morning, they arrived in Philippines. They were allowed to the country because they flew an American flag and the American ships went ahead of them. They went through various checkpoints where humiliating searches were carried out and were provided with water and for the first time since they got in the ship, they had an opportunity to take a bath. Later in the day they were transferred into an American ship that was standing by and were asked to give up any weapon or sharp pointed materials if they carried any and medicine that were within their possession.
They pushed to the entrance of the ship and in the middle of the confusion; they lost many items including shoes. They stayed in the American ship for seven days but the good thing about the ship was that they had a place to lie down. Her visits to the rest room became very difficult because of the many people in the ship. They finally arrived at Guam and the excited lot danced and made merry they now had plenty to eat and peace of mind. The food was balanced with a slice of fruit as their desert. They were forced to go to the immigration officer to have their paper work done to prevent future problems and to facilitate missing relatives who had parted with them at the course of their journey.
She was later to learn that her missing sons had put a search for them in the missing list and she was glad to know that they were alive. They slept in tents but had to bath in common rooms with the younger girls. They found the experience uncomfortable because they were not used to that back at home, so they opted to take bathes in the evening when the younger girls were sleeping (Anne, 1997). For them this was not just home but a home that had peace. However, peasant thieves among them would enter the tents and steal from each other when they were sleeping. Since there were not many American soldiers to guard the camps, the stronger people intimidated the weaker people by taking things from their tents. This made the camp life difficult sometimes and reminded them where they had fled.
The American provided security to the camps and food, which consisted nutritious delicacies meant to make their stay in the camps more comfortable. However, they were not able to thread any activities for them and so they stayed idle most of the time. It was a long wait to go to America but the wait was worthwhile they had a promise that they would not die and their safety was almost guaranteed. The American soldiers remained royal and truthful to them and treated them well (Freeman, 1989). She was later united with one of the son who was waiting for them at Guam the other son had left to America to find a good place for them and finally when their turn came they left for America.
Her story was different and somehow less traumatizing because they had Vietnam soldiers and later the American soldiers surveying the waters. They did not have any experience with the pirates in the waters; their journey was peaceful apart from constantly getting into fights with one another over water, food, and space. They considered the journey to have been successful and peaceful (Anne, 1997). Most of the refugees who had problems traveling are those who moved from the Vietnam when the Americans soldiers were not guarding the waters. At that time, though not much pirates work was reported until much later when there was little to eat and the economy was in turmoil because of the war they went to the waters to find food.
The decision for them to leave the country was the best decisions they would have taken because it gave them the opportunity to leave the country before it was taken over. This gave them an opportune time to escape before the soldiers had opportunity to close all the bridges and to have the boundaries as their fighting zones (Freeman, 1989). They had an opportunity to salvage themselves and their kin’s men who would have not been able to escape or survive under such hostile environment. They escaped torture and brutality advanced by soldiers from both teams who raped women who they found hiding in their homes.
Back home the war was taking centre stage the American decided to withdraw from the whole conflict and they recalled their soldiers back home. Vietnam citizen when had not managed to flee from the country had hard time coping in the country. It was a time of war and hardly anything to eat and constant raids by the Chinese soldiers who torture them and do all sorts of evil on them (Hein, 1995). They also had an opportunity to escape before the pirate had taken over the sea and killed innocent people as they struggled to get share to find peace.
Anne, F. (1997). The Spirit catches you and you fall down. A Hmong child, her American doctors and the collision of two cultures. Retrieved on 30 April 2010. pg 181.
Elliot, D. W. P. (1981). The doctrine conflict. Retrieved 30 April 2010 .pg 1.
Freeman, J. M. (1989).Hearts of Sorrow .Vietnamese-American lives. Retrieved on 30 April 2010 pg 292.
Hein, J. (1995). A refugee experience in U.S. retrieved on 30 April 2010.pg 11.
Vietnamese Boat people. (1984). Pirate’s vulnerable prey. Committee refugees. Retrieved on 30 April 2010. pg 1