It's been almost a year since the documentary "Terror in Little Saigon" had ignited emotional reactions from the Vietnamese community. Some were against the film and others were supportive of restoring the investigation of the murders of five Vietnamese-Americans. Blames were hurled and petitions were created from both sides. The film's opponents scolded that it would irrevocably damage the image of Vietnamese enclaves as peaceful and thriving. Proponents pointed fingers at their own people for being passive and ignorant at the crimes. Facts were upstaged by false pride, a cloak for insecurity. The pursuit of truth was a license to exploit the subjectivity of the past. Silence has always been the residue of shame and guilt.
For me, the facts are that five human lives were lost, their families were destroyed, and injustice has prevailed. Even at the highest echelon of America's intelligence and security, hands were tied. This story has been on my mind after seeing the documentary early 2016. I tried to resist the impulse to write about it. I wanted to stay calm, to wait, and to let the dust settles. That way, I could find a fresh angle, and look at it with the perspective of an outsider.
I won't go into much details of the incidents involving the assassination of the named Vietnamese Americans. You can find these info in abundance following the sources below. Propublica has a lengthy article that oversees all the events. Also, check out the report by The Committee To Protect Journalists which was made in the early nineties about the murders. Tony Nguyen's kind of difficult to reach but try to email and see if you can get a hold of his film- Enforcing the Silenced. Please look at http://www.ourlittlesaigon.com, an interesting website created by opponents of the documentary "Terror in Little Saigon". There are some very interesting and insightful reaction from people who've rebuffed the film.
- Request a Copy of Tony Nguyen's Documentary Film "Enforcing the Silence" through email, enforcingthesilence [at] gmail.com
- Propublica Investigation Report (Vietnamese)
- Propublica Investigation Report (English)
- Terror In Little Saigon Documentary Film (Vietnamese Subtitle)
- Terror In Little Saigon Documentary Film (English)
- Committee To Protect Journalists: Silenced Report
- Committee to Protect Journalists Conference in Washington DC
- VIetnamese Wikipedia Page
For me, I'm mostly fascinated to know more about the deceased. What were their lives like? What were their histories? What kind of persons were they? What were their occupational backgrounds? How did they become the targets for their enemies? I'm not a reporter and the data in this blog post was mined solely online from net publications, blogs, personal accounts, interviews, and chat forums. The information was gathered and compared for inconsistencies. If something don't add up, I don't use it. Also, they are sourced. Hopefully, by highlighting the individuals' personal details, a sympathetic and proactive reaction can be encouraged. If not, at least the story can be kept afloat and serves as a reminder that we can forget the past, but the past never forgets us.
Following are their stories. Please click on their names to read about them.