Reflections on SAFIRE Summer Celebration

Friday, September 03, 2010

By Yvonne Tran

I invited many friends to come to the SAFIRE End of Summer Celebration and all who came were very touched and moved by the performances and the whole event.

One friend, Kristen, particularly was touched enough to write a blog post about one of the girl's video and her own reflections. I want to share it all of you because it is very poignant and touches upon the issues the SAFIRE girls, the staff in ACRJ, and many of our friends, allies, and family face.

Here are some of her thoughts:

in a recent conversation with a friend who is viet-american, we briefly talked about how the experience of many vietnamese in the united states is one of ptsd, or post-traumatic stress disorder. in another conversation i had with him and, separately, with another friend who is also a viet-american male, both articulated that the trauma of war are internalized not only by their elders who lived through it, but our generation, the american-born children, as well. so engrained and on a wide-scale is the ptsd still thriving and mutating, more than 30 years later and an entire ocean away, that this long-over war still has power and the potential to (re)define the experience of what it means to be vietnamese in america for this generation and generations to come. ....
though the young filmmaker-in-training is not viet, but khmer, and is of a generation twice removed from the end of that incredibly bloody era that not only involved vietnam in the “vietnam war,” but laos and cambodia, as well, i wonder what effect—whether it is as palpable as the ptsd my viet friends observe in their peoples or not—she feels of her family’s literal running, leaving behind, and can’t carrying? though the “dog days” are indeed over and done, the experience as refugees and having to flee one’s home under the threat of torture and death, i can imagine, is still a daily memory for her parents and grandparents. and i wonder…if they were given the training and tools to author their own slideshow and an opportunity to present it to a rapt audience—what would their short film be like? would there be as many smiling faces in theirs as in hers? and, to convey the emotional rhythm and meter of their lives, i wonder most of all: what song would they choose?

Read the whole thing on Kristen's blog SALT/SOUR.

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