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Becoming Refugee AmericanThe Politics of Rescue in Little Saigon$
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Phuong Tran Nguyen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041358

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041358.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

“Farewell, Saigon, I Promise I Will Return”

“Farewell, Saigon, I Promise I Will Return”

Social Work and the Meaning of Exile

(p.53) 3 “Farewell, Saigon, I Promise I Will Return”
Becoming Refugee American

Phuong Tran Nguyen

University of Illinois Press

This chapter’s subtitle focuses on the social work performed by artists, journalists, and activists, who, during the late 1970s, comforted grieving souls through the construction of a refugee cultural identity and community, specifically as the true patriots whose flight from communism and testimony later on revealed what really happened after 1975. Beginning with the boat people exodus in the late 1970s, worldwide public opinion, which had vilified the South Vietnamese as losers of the war and obstacles to revolution, began to view the winners of the postwar. Their willingness to risk their lives on the open sea cast doubt on Hanoi’s revolutionary promises, and, through bipartisan support for the plight of the boat people, enabled the United States and Vietnamese Americans to cast themselves on the right side of history in ways never possible during the war itself.

Keywords:   social work, music, boat people, Voice of America, community, Orange County, Catholic, Chinatown, Nam Lộc, Trắng Đen, Yến Đỗ, American Exceptionalism, UNHCR, secondary migration

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