Chapter

Introduction

Heonik Kwon

in After the Massacre

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780520247963
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939653 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247963.003.0001
Introduction

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This chapter provides an account of the gigantic human catastrophe that devastated Vietnam in the second half of the 1960s, due to the Ha My and My Lai massacres. The connectedness of these incidents was not limited to the dynamic theater of a territorial war but also had a global dimension. The crimes were inseparable from the bipolar geopolitical structure and the interstate network dominant at the time of the Cold War. The postwar state hierarchy of Vietnam promoted the worship of the heroic war dead to a civic religion and, in doing so, demoted the traditional culture of death commemoration. A generation after the end of the war, the political economy of memory is now changing in Vietnam. The people of Ha My and My Lai are now engaged in renovating the places of the dead, as a part of “the commemorative fever.”

Keywords: human catastrophe; Vietnam; Ha My; My Lai; Cold war; commemoration

Chapter.  4301 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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