Linda Trinh Vo, Professor at the University of California at Irvine

[00:00:00] I’m Linda Vo and I’m a professor at the University of California at Irvine and I’m in the Asian-American studies department a refugee is similar to someone who is an immigrant. However a refugee is someone who is fleeing their own country because of fear of persecution whether that be political persecution religious persecution or ethnic persecution. I was a child in 1975. 1975 was the end of the Vietnam War which other people have also referred to as Vietnam American war. And at that time. Are you referring to the United States or in Southeast Asia? So that was the end of the Vietnam War. On April 30th 1975. But in terms of the end of the Vietnam War it was the end of the war for Americans because this is the time that America. Had pulled out of the war and was no longer involved in the war.

[00:01:00] However what occurred afterwards was in political, economic and social instability in Vietnam but also in Laos and Cambodia. Well first of all there is internal fighting between political and military forces in those countries. And for example in Vietnam the communist forces overtook the southern part of Vietnam and wanted to replace the political power as a result. What they did is they imprisoned anyone who is a leader whether they were a military leader or a political leader in that country and replace a form of government. And so that socialist form of government was being instituted in this country. In the aftermath. And both Laos and Cambodia communist forces also were taking fighting for power. And this internal struggle led to a lot of death a lot of instability a lot of imprisonment and torture of individuals and also ethnic persecution of minority groups as well. One of the group–some of the groups that were persecuted were those in Laos and they were the Hmong and the Mien groups who had fought with alongside the CIA and the U.S. military against the communists. So when Communist forces took over in Laos they persecuted and basically practice ethno genocide of those ethnic groups. There are only loose base numbers but it’s very difficult because we don’t know exactly what happened what they did was basically practice policy extermination of these ethnic groups and these groups then became land refugees migrating internally in the country and then also escaping to the borders to Thailand.

[00:03:03] And we don’t know exactly the number of deaths that occurred or the number of killings that occurred or cases in which people starved on their migration path to Thailand the killing fields as most people know what happened in Cambodia was they basically imprisoned tortured and killed anyone who was of well educated anyone who was a leader in the country. And they basically depopulated urban areas and in the labor camps in the prisons that they sent everyone to. There was a division in terms of couples and people who were partners with one another or families. They separated children from their parents husbands from wives and forced everyone to labor for their food and also instituted political ideologies in these prison camps. Read more...