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Background to the war Immigration
Up to today, many Americans look back to the effects of the Vietnam War with much disappointment and disgust for the terrible pain performed to ‘protect’ the people of the South Vietnam from the dictatorial government. While many might still argue that the war was a matter of necessity led by outstanding intentions, others certainly consider it as a sin and a blunder that can never be justified.
The war remains the most detested and the most prolonged war that the Americans have ever engaged. It resulted to the demise of more than 200000 Vietnamese and to the deaths of over 60,000 Americans (Gibson 67).
The first mistake that the Americans made before launching the war was to underestimate the potential of the North Vietnamese. The North Vietnamese had a long and strong experience in war through the prolonged resistance to the French.
They had a stronger advantage to utilize their strong rebellions against the South who were viewed as the representatives of the French. The North Vietnamese had a strong bond and unity to rebel against the South Vietnam Catholic Leaders who were viewed as representatives of the west (Shelby 69).
First, among the major inspiration and the motivation of the Americans to launch the Vietnam War, was the strong fear during the cold war that the crossover of South Vietnam to the Communist ideologies would lead to a weaker United State and a down fall of key US leaders such as President Kennedy and Johnson.
To President Kennedy and Johnson, their chances of winning the next term in office depended on the successful launch of US capitalist ideologies in South Vietnam. In addition to the overconfidence in the US military capacity in preventing the North from taking over the South, there was a misguided belief that North Vietnam was a hock belonging to Moscow.
Still, other factors such as the massive destruction of Cuba and Soviet’s leader Nikita Khrushchev threat to sponsor National Liberation Movements everywhere in the world put the US under pressure to launch a war in Vietnam.
While the Vietnam War was accelerated by deep rooted political meanness and cruelty, the fact remains that its consequences were destructive and led to lifelong hatred towards the American government.
For many Vietnamese, their lifelong experiences and struggle as immigrants in the American soil is an as a result of the selfishness and the over calculated pride of the American people. In addition to broken families and ties, the war launched in 1961 has led many desperate lives today in a foreign land with barely anywhere to call home.
Vietnamese Immigrant experience
While speaking as an outsider can never bring out the real picture of what the Vietnamese experienced during and after the war, their narrations still linger from the foreign land that they can never truly call their own (Coleman 47). America remains their land of escape, the land where after all turmoil and trauma, much rest, survival and a source of livelihood for them was found.
On the other hand, Vietnam remains their country where all their birth rites and roots come from and the country where they were born. Looking at it from the eyes of an Immigrant, before the war broke out in May 1961, everything in the Vietnamese Immigrants lives was as usual.
However, the events that happened after the war remain unforgettable in their lives. The economy of their country was driven into downfall. The war led them into hiding in safe refuges and subsequently led them into their escape into the American soil 15 years after the war had broke.
Their worst feeling was brought by the perception of being intruders and Immigrants by the natives in the foreign land they had sought safety (Shelby 34). According to natives, the Immigrants were less human and deserved less; these refugees were devoid of any merit.
In addition to discrimination and dislike by the natives, the Vietnamese had a second challenge; the challenge of being in a foreign land with a language they could not speak or hear. Amidst mush discrimination and the reality of a language they did not understand, the Immigrants biggest challenge was the lack of skills to perform jobs in America. Without skill, they could not get employed and earn a livelihood in the new land.
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In those darkest moments, every Immigrant hang-on the little hope they could find. To them, the hope of a brighter future came from the few people who seemed to show some little concern to them as human beings rather than as refugees who were less human.
Their first source of life came from the volunteers who appeared on the street when the war broke to lead people to safety refuges (Coleman 19). Though life in the refuge was not the best, and at times, they could lack food, the refuge came with the much safety that they needed. They felt calm in the midst of society turmoil and chaos.
The second source of hope to the Immigrants came at a needed time in the midst of darkness in a foreign land. It came to their rescue when they faced discrimination for being Immigrants. Upon their departure towards the base in Guam and eventually their deliverance to a refugee center, the Immigrants got rescue from the good will of the former president.
The former President Gerald Ford supported the immigration into the U.S. He passed the Immigrants to enter the United States under a special status. This formed a substantial basement for them to start a new life in the United States.
For their final settlement in America, the Immigrants desire to start a new life got fulfilled by a voluntary agency whose responsibility was to help the refugee resettle into communities throughout the United Stated eventually by providing the Immigrants with food, water, and clothing.
The Immigrants memory of their past can never fade. However, with time, they accepted reality and began to settle down in America (Shelby 22). They have been able to learn English and acquire jobs that can sustain their lives.
Though the Immigrants have religiously preserved their beliefs and held on to the core of their cultures, with time they have adopted the American ways of life as a way of assimilating into the new land.
In regards to their children, apart from the challenge they often face in discrimination because they are of Asian origin, their children have not faced considerable challenges such as learning English majorly because they were born in America.
The children have adopted a strong value system in education, and a rapidly growing proportion of them are now studying at University of California, Berkeley, and there is much hope that the children occupy better professional positions in society, more so in the high-tech technology and in locations such as Silicon Valley.
Immigrants Point of views for Vietnam War
While many may view war as merely an extension of politics by non-peaceful means, the Vietnamese experience have much wisdom for the many who hold onto their pride and risk the lives of millions in order to achieve their personal desires.
According to the Immigrants, there can never be anything substantial that comes from war. As stated earlier, the Vietnam War led to over 60000 American deaths and over 200,000 Vietnamese deaths. This is just a reflection of death and destruction that wars have caused all over the world. Listening to the words of wisdom from the Immigrants experience, the massive destruction of war is not worth it.
War leads to the loss of family and friends. Individuals get separated from their loved ones, and they live in a foreign land with no relatives and friends. In addition, the immigrants feel that the war led them into much undeserved discrimination.
In the foreign land, they escaped into, people viewed them with disownment and pressured them into mean experiences. The immigrants feel that they have not lived their real lives, all because of the Vietnam War that robbed off everything they had and drove them into an unknown land.
Famous people in the Vietnam immigrants
The Immigrants have come as a source of blessing in adding value to the to the Americans land. Though their contributions remain unnoticed, many Vietnamese Immigrants have worked hard to climb the corporate radar and currently hold key positions in America many have taken a profound interest in civic duty.
John Quoc Duong was an example of the hardworking persistent Vietnamese who have added much value to America’s Public Service. While President George Bush was in office, John Quoc Duong served as an executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Michael 123).
Far from the government, the Vietnamese have had a significant contribution in the growth of economy through the athletic and the entertainment industry. In the face of much economic recession, there is an increase of the Vietnamese Immigrants into America as many come to get reunited with the family members who they lost during the war.
Immigrants comparison of Vietnam and America
From the immigrants’ experience, there can never be a similarity of Vietnam and America. From their experiences, they have always longed for their lives in Vietnam. Despite what the foreign land they live in offers, they live in the hope that one day they will be able to go back to their relatives and their real hometown.
A significant difference separating the two towns lies in the weather. There is some calm and coolness in America that makes the Immigrants forget home for a while, Taiwan like Vietnam, on the other hand, is full of much heat during the summer. People in Taiwan are also totally different.
The simplicity and easiness in the lives is welcoming as compared to the busy America. Life in Taiwan is cheaper compared to life in the US and in fact, food and shopping go for a cheap price (Galloway 45).
In terms of the population, recent Census revealed that over 1,122,528 individuals identify themselves as Vietnamese alone or 1,223,736 in combinations with other ethnicities (“Wikipedia: Vietnamese America” par. 3). As a result of this figure, they got ranked fourth among the Asian American groups.
According to relevant sources, 447,032 (39.8%) live in California and 134,961 (12.0%) in Texas. The highest figure of this population outside its country of origin is in Orange County, California with approximately 135,548 Vietnamese (“Wikipedia: Vietnamese America” par. 3). Together with this, there is a rapid increase in Vietnamese populations in some states such as Florida, Virginia and Massachusetts.
While many people in the world live their lives as Immigrants, from the experiences of the Vietnamese Immigrants it is safe to say that life as an Immigrant is among the hardest lives for any human being.
Apart from dealing with the discriminations that comes by being different in other people’s land, the major challenges that the immigrants face is the challenge of having to adapt to a new environment. Leaving one’s life behind and moving on in complete emptiness of what ones used to be your life.
Adopting to a new culture and a new language with new people pushes many into a state of depression and denial and as witnessed in the Immigrants case, only a few genuinely thrive to survive. On the other hand, there are many lessons to be learnt by the leaders of this world.
For one, war is just an unnecessary evil that should never happen. There is too much to life for us to be driven by greed to permanent destruction of other people’s life. There is so much in togetherness and a person’s family and friends. War and Chaos mercilessly separate key bonds.
Coleman, James. Pleiku: The Dawn of Helicopter warfare in Vietnam, New York: St. Matin press, 1989. Print.
Galloway, Joseph. We Were Soldiers once: The Battle that changed the war in Vietnam, New York: St Matin Press, 1993. Print.
Gibson, James. The perfect war: Techno war in Vietnam, New York: Warner Books, 1986. Print.
Michael, Kelly. Where we were in Vietnam: A comprehensive Guide to the Firebase, Military installation, and naval vessel of the Vietnam war. New Delhi, India: Hellgate press, 1990. Print.
Shelby, Stanton. Anatomy of a Division: The First Cav in Vietnam, New York: Warner Books Inc, 1997. Print.
Shelby, Stanton. Green Berets at War: US Army Special Forces in Southeast Asia, New York: Ivy Boos, 1985. Print.
Shelby, Stanton. Vietnam Order of Battle: A Complete illustrated Reference to US Army Combat and Support forces in Vietnam, Mechanicsburg: Stackpole military Classic Press, 2003. Print.
Wikipedia: Vietnamese America 2005. Web. <http//en-wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnamese America>