We are so pleased to be getting ready to leave for Vietnam on the 2nd of January 2020. We have been preparing for this journey and our art residency in Hue Vietnam. We will endeavor to post photos, reflections, art, and writings about this “Journey to Forgiveness.” every few days. As we take this six-week journey to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, My Lai, Hanoi, and many of the important site of the war. But as important to focus on the present, both the beauty of this magnificent country, as well as the tragic impact of the war that claimed more than 2 million Vietnamese.
Forty-Five years since the end of the war in 1975, how has Vietnam transformed? What has been the ongoing impact of the American and French military presence? There is reported to be some 400, 000 deaths in Vietnam related to Agent Orange, the herbicide and poison that was randomly sprayed throughout the country. Even though the Dow Chemical Corporation and the US govt. knew this was toxic. (However, wouldn’t it seem logical that an herbicide would be a poison?) Children are still being born now with the effects of the Agent Orange that was sprayed in Vietnam almost a half-century ago
Here is information from the press release. If you wish to support this project please donate through www.gracecares.org. Thank you.
Namaya, poet, artist, and USN veteran, and a member of Veterans for Peace has been invited to Vietnam to the New Space Art Center to create an art/ writing/ photography residency entitled “Journey to Forgiveness.” With his creative partner Zoe Kopp they will travel at the beginning of January to March exploring Vietnam to understand the impact of the war on the land and people of Vietnam. The project in part is sponsored by www.gracecares.org and support through https://www.gofundme.com/f/journey-to-forgiveness.
You can follow their progress, videos, and writings on www.namayaproductions.com/blog
“We have been creating peace and reconciliation projects around the world and in the USA. We hope to highlight the beauty of Vietnam and its people, and the war’s disastrous impact on the people and their environment. The herbicide Agent Orange was widely sprayed over Vietnam that has caused over 400,000 deaths. We are keenly aware of how the USA has engaged in wars and colonialism over its two hundred year history. My wish is that during this brief visit to Vietnam, by working on this theme of forgiveness, I can begin to understand how this process of healing has transpired since the end of the war. Also, to shed light on the on-going impact of Agent Orange and the fatalities still caused by unexploded landmines.”
“Our goal is to listen and observe with respect and sensitivity to the people of Vietnam. Even though the war officially ended forty-five years ago, the scars and trauma of the war persist.” said Zoe Kopp
Namaya was a US Navy hospital corpsman, “Though I had no direct experience with combat, living through the war years and subsequently working with Veterans and peace groups has had a profound impact on me. As a result of my service in the Navy, I became a pacifist. I subsequently served in Yemen as a Peace Corps volunteer in the mid-1970. I am also a member of Veterans for Peace. I’ve spent the years since the end of Vietnam working in international development, peacebuilding, the arts, and performance all dealing with the themes of peace and community building.”
Zoe Kopp is a peace creator, epidemiologist, and co-founder of the community development projects of www.gracecares.org. “We are very pleased with this opportunity to meet people in Vietnam and hear their stories.
During this residency, Namaya and Zoe with local artists will create an art project “The Tree of Memory and Forgiveness.” It is a project for people to write some aspect of something they would like to forgive and write it on a small card and attach it to a tree. It could be a photograph, writing or drawing. This work will be anonymous. At the end of the two weeks of the project, it is proposed at the end, the stories, poems, and art is read out loud and then burned. Symbolizing both the witness and the surrendering of memory.
When Namaya and Zoe return they will present this art, photography, and writing in public presentations. This Journey of Forgiveness is part of Namaya’s multiyear project called Pornography of War: The impact of war and militarism in society.
I am the Vietnam Generation: Generation of Witness
I don’t want to be called
a baby boomer
I want to be named
the Vietnam generation
I am of the generation