Archives par mot-clé : boat people

Journey from the Fall (Vượt Sóng) [2007]

Inspired by the true sto­ries of Vietnamese refu­gees who fled their land after the fall of Saigon—and those who were forced to stay behind, Journey From The Fall fol­lows one family’s strug­gle for free­dom.

April 30, 1975 marked the end of Vietnam’s two-decade-old civil war and the start of the exodus of hun­dreds of thou­sands of refu­gees. Despite his alle­giance to the top­pled South Vietnamese govern­ment, Long Nguyen (as Long Nguyen) deci­des to remain in Vietnam. Imprisoned in a Communist re-edu­ca­tion camp, he urges his family to make the escape by boat without him. His wife Mai (Diem Lien), son Lai (Nguyen Thai Nguyen) and mother Ba Noi (Kieu Chinh) then embark on the arduous ocean voyage in the hope of rea­ching the U.S. and free­dom. Back in Vietnam, Long suf­fers years of soli­tary confi­ne­ment and hard labor, and finally des­pairs that his family has peri­shed. But news of their suc­cess­ful reset­tle­ment in America ins­pi­res him to make one last des­pe­rate attempt to join them.


Review by Kim Voynar

The American version of the Vietnam War generally ends on April 30, 1975, the day the last of the U.S. troops and diplomats boarded planes and helicopters and left Vietnam. But for many Vietnamese, especially for those who had been loyal to the toppled South Vietnamese government, the fall of Saigon and the takeover of the Communist Viet Cong government was only the beginning of a long, terrible journey. Many of these citizens, loyal to the former government, found themselves incarcerated in Communist « re-education » camps for years. Still more Vietnamese, many of them women and children, fled Vietnam for other Southeast Asian countries or America, and became known as the « boat people. »

Lire la suite / Read more : Blog Moviefone, posted 23/03/2007.


Trailer for Journey from the Fall, directed by Ham Tran

Fiche du film sur Wikipedia

Sea Of Memory – A Vietnamese Boat Refugee Documentary Film – 2011

Sea Of Memory – A Vietnamese Boat Refugee Documentary Film – Ryan Nguyen, 2011.

After the Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975, more than a million people fled the communist ruling by boats to the South China Sea. They faced obstacles such as pirate attacks, violent sea storms, thirst and starvation. Many lives were lost. Those that survived the journey immigrated to non-communist countries around the world. The majority of them found freedom and new life in the United States. My dad was one of them.

Voices of Vietnamese Boat People: Nineteen Narratives of Escape and Survival [2000]

On April 10, 1975, the Hanoi government of North Vietnam took control over the South. South Vietnamese, particularly « intellectuals » and those thought to have been associated with the previous regime, underwent terrible punishment, persecution and « re-education. » Seeking their freedom, thousands of South Vietnamese took to the sea in rickety boats, often with few supplies, and faced the dangers of nature, pirates, and starvation. While the sea and its danger claimed many lives, those who made it to the refugee camps still faced struggle and hardships in their quest for freedom.

Here are collected the narratives of nineteen men and women who survived the ordeal of escape by sea. Today, they live in the United States as students, professors, entrepreneurs, scientists, and craftspeople who have chosen to tell the stories of their struggles and their triumph. Each narrative is accompanied by a brief biographical note.

Mary Terrell Cargill is an associate professor of English at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. Jade Ngoc Quang Huynh, a native of Vietnam, is an assistant professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where he teaches creative writing.

Réf. : Cargill, Mary Terrell & Huynh, Jade Ngoc Quang, Voices of Vietnamese Boat People: Nineteen Narratives of Escape and Survival, Jefferson, NC – London, Mc Farland, 2000, 192 p.

Aperçu Google Books

Nghia M. Vo: Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975-1992 [2006]

The biggest diaspora in Vietnamese history occurred between 1975 and 1992, when more than two million people fled by boat to escape North Vietnam’s oppressive communist regime. Before this well-known exodus from Vietnam’s shores, however, there was a massive population shift within the country. In 1954, one million fled from north to south to escape war, famine, and the communist land reform campaign. Many of these refugees went on to flee Vietnam altogether in the 1970s and 1980s, and the experiences of 1954 influenced the later diaspora in other ways as well.

This book reassesses the causes and dynamics of the 1975-92 diaspora. It begins with a discussion of Vietnam from 1939 to 1954, then looks closely at the 1954 « Operation Exodus » and the subsequent resettlements. From here the focus turns to the later events that drove hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to flee their homeland in 1975 and the years that followed. Planning for escape, choosing routes, facing pirates at sea, and surviving the refugee camps are among the many topics covered. Stories of individual escapees are provided throughout. The book closes with a look at the struggles and achievements of the resettled Vietnamese. (McFarland book description).

Nghia M. Vo is a Vietnamese-American, helped found the nonprofit Saigon Arts, Culture & Education Institute, and has written multiple books on Vietnamese culture. He lives in Virginia. He strives to document Vietnamese-American culture through conferences, publications and a website He is also the author of The Bamboo Gulag: Political Imprisonment in Communist Vietnam (McFarland 2004).

Réf. : Nghia M. Vo, The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975-1992, Jefferson, NC – London, McFarland, 2006, 208 p.

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Book reviews

Concise history of Vietnamese Refugees, by Smallchief, 06/04/2007

This is a clear, readable, and concise book about Vietnamese refugees. There have been a large number of books on this subject, but this is one of the better and more complete ones I have encountered.

The author begins with a subject neglected by many authors — a description of the refugee flight that came about as a result of the French defeat and the Communist takeover of North Vietnam in 1954. About one million people fled North Vietnam at that time. He then jumps forward 20 years to an account of the many different phases of the 1975-1992 humanitarian crisis — and crisis it was — beginning as a consequence of the defeat of the U.S.-supported South Vietnamese government in 1975. Throughout the narrative, he mixes in the personal stories of individuals escaping from Communism, their life in the refugee camps, and their later experiences in the United States. Finally, he describes the refugee policies of the countries who hosted and helped — sometimes reluctantly — Vietnamese refugees: the United States, Thailand, Malaysia, France, Canada, Australia, and others.

The author draws most of his material from previously published books, but his insights often have a interesting twist of their own, perhaps because the author himself is Vietnamese, experienced some of the events he describes, and reflects the view — very anti-communist — of many in the American Vietnamese community.

Memories become history, by Viet Reader, 07/04/2007

I lived through all the periods of Vietnamese history mentioned in the book. I witnessed (as a child) the 1954 exodus from the North, the 1975 event leading to the concentration camps, the exodus of the boat people from Vietnam and their life outside of Vietnam. It’s quite an extraordinary and pleasant experience for me to read « The Vietnamese Boat People ». It’s like being led on an instructive tour to your own hometown, guided by a scholarly (and surgeon) friend who writes English in a way very few of us can, to revisit familiar places that you thought you have always known so well, only to find out that there are a lot of new things and perspectives about your own past and your country’s past. With the book,my own eclectic, personal pieces of memory seem to find their place in the jigsaw puzzle. It may help former refugees like myself, and hopefully our English speaking progeny, find a sense of meaning and purpose from our turbulent and traumatic past. For some of us, this may also provide some relief from lingering guilts and regrets about our past lost cause, and maybe, a sense of closure necessary to start a new chapter for our life and for our former country that still stays behind in every way.

Source : Amazon

Aperçu sur Google Books

10 novembre 1978. Qui veut des 2 500 boat people vietnamiens à bord du cargo Hai Hong ? Kouchner !

[ndlr] Article de Frédéric Lewino et Gwendoline Dos Santos paru dans le magazine Le Point du 10 novembre 1978. A travers le récit de l’odyssée du cargo Hai Hong, les journalistes dénoncent le « trafic de chair humaine » orchestré par la RSVN avec ses propres citoyens candidats à l’exil.

Le gouvernement vietnamien organise lui-même le trafic de réfugiés, qui lui rapporte des centaines de millions de dollars.

Le petit Tranh, 9 ans, est blotti contre sa mère. Il a faim, il a soif, son corps est couvert d’eczéma. Il a peur. Où est son papa ? Le petit garçon n’a même plus la force de se plaindre. Sa petite soeur est dans le même état que lui. Ils sont ainsi des centaines d’enfants, mais aussi des femmes, des vieillards et des hommes, entassés sur ce vieux rafiot baptisé Hai Hong. Voilà seize jours, depuis leur embarquement à Hô Chi Minh-Ville (Saïgon), que 2 449 Vietnamiens fuyant le communisme vivent un terrible calvaire. On leur avait dit que la traversée ne prendrait que quelques jours, mais elle s’éternise. Les provisions apportées par la mère de Tranh ont vite disparu. Depuis, c’est l’enfer. La chaleur, la pisse et la merde répandues partout, les pleurs, le bruit, les maux de ventre. Le cargo est devenu un immense barbecue chauffé par un soleil de plomb. L’odyssée du Hai Hong, qui fait forcément penser à celle de l’Exodus, fait la une de tous les journaux du monde le 10 novembre 1978.

Lire la suite : Le Point, 10 novembre 1978. Le – Publié le


Archives télévisuelles :

2500 boat people fuyant le régime communiste de Saïgon sont bloqués sur le cargo le « Haï Hong » au large de la Malaisie et de l’Indonésie en attendant une terre d’accueil. Ils sont jugés immigrants illégaux. Leur situation devient tragique, ils n’ont ni eaux ni nourriture et les enfants sont couverts d’exéma. A bord du bateau il y a eu une mutinerie et le bateau connaît des problèmes techniques. La pression internationale a permis de débloquer une aide humanitaire de base : leur distribuer de l’eau et des vivres.

Création d’un comité de soutien aux réfugiés politiques du Vietnam et qui meurent chaque jour dans des bateaux en Mer de Chine. Interview de Bernard KOUCHNER qui explique le but de ce comité : envoyer un bateau au secours des boat people et la place de Médecins sans Frontière pour assurer la partie médicale. Interview d’Yves MONTAND sur le sens de son engagement au sein de ce comité, comme d’autres intellectuels (SARTRE, Raymond ARON…).

Reportage sur les réfugiés viêtnamiens en Malaisie. Les boat people qui s’échouent sur une plage racontent leur exode et leur condition de vie dans les bateaux.


Réfugiés vietnamiens en France (TF1 30/11/78)

Transbordement des réfugiés vietnamiens du cargo Haï-Hong dans 2 vedettes. Arrivée en France des réfugiés à l’aéroport de Roissy. Ruée des journalistes. Embarquement des passagers à bord des cars Air France. Arrivée dans cité d’accueil.

Truong Nhu Tang: Mémoires d’un Vietcong [1985]

Parmi les centaines de milliers de boat people anonymes ayant fui le Vietnam depuis la chute de Saïgon, se trouvait en 1978 un témoin très particulier : Truong Nhu Tang, membre fondateur du Front National de Libération, ministre de la Justice du Gouvernement révolutionnaire Vietcong et adversaire déterminé du régime saïgonnais pro-américain.

Ce livre est tout d’abord l’histoire personnelle d’un homme devant sa formation intellectuelle à la France, qui a lutté durant plus de dix ans pour la libération de son pays et qui a fini par le quitter, constatant que le remède était pire que le mal. Mémoires d’un Vietcong est surtout l’histoire du conflit vietnamien racontée pour la première fois par un acteur important de l’autre bord. Principal responsable vietcong en exil, Truong Nhu Tang est particulièrement bien placé pour présenter l’autre version du plus tragique conflit néo-colonial: « Je crois que l’Occident ne sait presque rien du Vietcong, de ses projets, de ses difficultés, de ses conflits internes surtout. Les circonstances propres à la guerre, et le grand soin que la révolution a apporté à camoufler son propre fonctionnement ont contribué à la marquer du sceau du secret. Mais le Vietcong n’était pas monolithique… »

Truong Nhu Tang, né en 1923 à Saigon, est diplômé de l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, licencié en droit, ancien élève de l’Ecole du commissariat de la Mariné de Toulon. Il a été directeur général de la Société Sucrière Nationale du Vietnam membre fondateur du FNL, ministre de la Justice du GRP, et du Sud Vietnam « libéré » pendant l’année qui a suivi la chute de Saïgon. II est réfugié en France depuis 1978. David Chanoff est assistant professeur de sciences politiques à Hancard. Doan Van Toai, auteur de Le goulag vietnamien (Robert Laffont), est à l’Institut d’Etudes Asiatiques de Berkeley.

Réf. : Truong Nhu Tang, Mémoires d’un Vietcong, Paris, Flammarion, 1985, 347 p. (trad. de l’américain par Amal Naccache)


  • CR de lecture par Bui Xuan Quang dans Politique Etrangère, 1985, Vol. 50, n° 4, pp. 1047-1048 à lire sur Persée
  • CR de lecture par Pierre Brocheux dans Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire, 1986, Vol. 11, n° 11, p. 139 à lire sur Persée
  • CR de lecture en vietnamien par Minh Võ, « Hồi ký của một tên Việt Cộng » en ligne sur Giao Cam, Saigon Online (pdf)

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 A Viecong Memoir (édition en langue anglaise)

This is a moving if rather naive account of life as a Vietnamese revolutionary, written by one of the Vietcong’s highest-ranking leaders who is now in exile in the West. Thoroughly disillusioned, the author describes how Hanoi used Southern « bourgeois » revolutionaries to overthrow the Saigon government and then quickly shunted them aside after victory. It is unfortunate that Southern patriots such as this one did not understand earlier the nature of the Hanoi regime they served so well. To this day the author, while critical of all the key actors in the Vietnam drama-the North, the Thieu government and the United States-does not devote much space to self-criticism. Yet as one of Saigon’s privileged elite, he cooperated directly or indirectly with Hanoi for 20 years.

Source : Foreign Affairs, Reviewed by Donald S. Zagoria. Fall 1985.

Séminaire “Mémoires d’Indochine” : Séance 7

Année universitaire 2012-2013 / Master Asie Orientale Contemporaine (ASIOC) / Semestre 1


Mémoires d’Indochine :

Regards internes sur la décolonisation et la guerre

au Viêt-Nam, Laos et Cambodge


Séance 7 – vendredi 16 novembre 2012

« Désenchantements postcoloniaux et fuite des populations »

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Comme le titre l’indique, cette dernière séance se penchera sur les conséquences sociales et politiques des victoires communistes en péninsule indochinoise. Les extraits de textes interrogeront le devenir du Viêt Nam après la chute de Saigon (30 avril 1975). Seront évoqués le sort réservé aux militaires de l’ancienne République du Viêt Nam, la disparition du FNL-Sud Viêt Nam avec la réunification du pays en 1976 sous la nouvelle appellation de République socialiste du Viêt Nam (RSVN) et les stratégies développées par la population pour échapper au totalitarisme et à la misère. En particulier, le phénomène des Boat people et des Land people sera abordé à l’échelle de la péninsule indochinoise dans son contexte géopolitique.


Extraits de textes à discuter :

  • Ngo Van, Viêt-Nam 1920-1945. Révolution et contre-révolution sous la domination coloniale, Paris, Editions Nautilus, 2000, pp. 373-381 [+ couverture].
  • Phan Minh Hien & Nguyen Van Huy, Loques de vie, Paris, Editions l’Harmattan, 2000, pp. 13-21 [+ couverture]. Traduction succincte du vietnamien, revue par Phan Minh Hien.
  • Truong Nhu Tang, avec l’aide de David Chanoff et Doan Van Toai, Mémoires d’un Vietcong, Paris, Flammarion, 1985, pp. 271-322 [+ couverture]. Traduit de l’américain par Amal Naccache.


Exposés de :


Pour aller plus loin :

  • Chanda, Nayan, Les frères ennemis. La péninsule indochinoise après Saigon, Paris, Presses du CNRS, Ligne Pacifique, 1987, 368 p. (trad. de l’américain par Michèle Vacherand et Jean-Michel Aubriet…).
  • Duiker, William J., Vietnam since the fall of Saigon, Athens, Ohio University, Monographs in International Studies, Southeast Asia Series no. 56, 1985 (revised ed.), 261 p.
  • Hy V. Luong (ed.), Postwar Vietnam. Dynamics of a transforming society, Singapore & Lanham, MA, ISEAS / Rowman & Littlkefield publishers, 2003, 336 p.
  • Nghia M. Vo, The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975-1992, Jefferson, NC – London, McFarland, 2006, 208 p.
  • Nguyen Van Canh, Vietnam Under Communism, 1975-1982, Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1983, 312 p.