What is Black April? Some might ask. Black April is referred to April of 1975 when Sai Gon (Viet Nam) was fallen into the Communist party. For those who were serving the South Viet Nam in the previous party lost to the Communist, they considered the month of April as Black April because there were so much chaos going on, so much loss had happened, it was during this month that so many people lost their lives protecting their country, their families or trying to escape. The soldiers already knew their fate, it wasn’t bright at all if they stayed behind. There were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles who died leading to this day of April 30, 1975. There were so many horror stories to be told. There were happy endings to some of the stories because families finally got reunited after so many years searching. There were sad stories that family members are still searching for answers. The further we are from 1975, the harder it is for those families to find their answers.
For those soldiers who were able to make it out of the country, they had to start building their lives all over again in a foreign country who were generous enough to take them in let it be USA, France, Australia, Canada. For others were not fortunate enough. They had to escape by boat (hence the name “Boat People”). Many of them lost their lives. Many women got raped and killed by the pirates. Many lives were lost at sea due to malfunction to their boats and out of fuels. So many mothers and fathers had to witness the loss of their children. I remember when I was in the Philippines, I volunteered at the hospital and got to know a lady who was raped by the pirates while witnessing them kill both of her children and her husband. She was so depressed and so damaged to the point that she couldn’t regain herself. She would sit by the window and just stared into space. She wouldn’t talk to anyone except for when they asked her to eat and drink. As a mother now, I can feel the pain and the hurt that she must have endured. Many many boat people were threatened and the women got raped over and over again while living in the fear of not knowing what will happen tomorrow or what has happened to their own families. I know people who escaped via boats and had lost contact with their families since, nobody knew what had happened to them.
For those soldiers who couldn’t make it out of the , they ended up in “re-educational camp” which is what the Communist party called it, in reality they were treated as prisoners of war and were kept by belligerents for a long time away from their families. The higher rankings you held, unfortunately the longer you were kept and more tortures you would have received in those so called “re-educational camps). For those who held authority, they were tortured for information even though the war was technically over. Some were isolated for information, some were being prosecuted, some were punished, some (most of them who were kept alive) were being exploited for their labor.
I would like to share with you a happy story (although it is a bit sad) but more happy because of the reunion after 40 years.
Kimberly Mitchell’s situation was unfortunate because she lost her mother and lost the tie to search for her relatives. However, she got to reunited the man who rescued her during the war chaos. It is at least brought her a closure as to know what exactly happened in her past to cause her being an orphan.
Robert’s story is typical of a child half Vietnamese and half foreign. Those children grow up being spat on and treated horribly. Some were lucky enough to be brought up in supportive and loving families but a lot weren’t. They got bullied on, treated so badly that they ended up being homeless or just wondering the streets. They were considered as “societal burdens” or just “garbage.” Of course their mothers were treated the same way too. They wouldn’t be able to find jobs to support their families.
The repercussion of the war was more than just rebuilding the countries. Many people can tell you personal stories of how hard it was after 1975. The things that people are not allowed to do. Up until today, even just to raise your voice when you see unjustice acts being done, you will end up in jail. When taking over the country, the Communist party promised to rebuild the country and that everyone will get an equal opportunities for jobs and educations, however that promise was eventually forgotten by the party itself. They took on the wealth and leave the labors to their citizen. The richest beasts are the ones hold the highest power in that country. The majority of population still lives in poverty. Those are in authority leave all of the assistance and support for the weak and disabled to the foreign charities. They even had the audacity to extort those charities during supply transportation for money. Right now, if you ever so raise a voice, write an article, say anything against the party, you will be thrown in jail. Many churches do not want to cooperate or give them money, in return, they would get in trouble with the gangs in local area (gangs placed by the Communist party) themselves.
I pray for a day that our country (Viet Nam) will be more at peace, people will be freely express their voice and concern, people will have an equal chance in workforce and education. People will have an opportunity to thrive at their own will. I pray that this so called Communist party will no longer exist so that the country can be rebuilt and stronger. I pray that this so called Communist party will no longer exist so that someone is stronger to stand up for the rights of their own people.
In the mean time, I can only PRAY, HOPE and HAVE FAITH that one day this will happen.
Đất nước mình lạ quá phải không anh?
Bốn ngàn tuổi mà dân không chịu lớn
Bốn ngàn tuổi mà vẫn còn bú mớm
Trước những bất công vẫn không biết kêu đòi…
Những chiếc bánh chưng vô cùng kì vĩ
Những dự án và tượng đài nghìn tỉ
Sinh mạng con người chỉ như cái móng tay…
Biển bạc, rừng xanh, cánh đồng lúa biếc
Rừng đã hết và biển thì đang chết
Những con thuyền nằm nhớ sóng khơi xa…
Mỗi đứa trẻ sinh ra đã gánh nợ nần ông cha để lại
Di sản cho mai sau có gì để cháu con ta trang trải
Đứng trước năm châu mà không phải cúi đầu…
Anh không biết em làm sao biết được
Câu hỏi gửi trời xanh, gửi người sau, người trước
Ai trả lời dùm đất nước sẽ về đâu…
Trường PTTH chuyên Hà Tĩnh.