Archives par mot-clé : République du Viêt-Nam (Sud)

F. Guillemot : Penser le nationalisme révolutionnaire au Việt Nam

La revue Moussons est désormais répertoriée sur C’est l’occasion de signaler notre article sur le nationalisme non communiste au Viêt Nam paru initialement en 2009. L’article a été revu et corrigé pour cette version en ligne.



Penser le nationalisme révolutionnaire au Việt Nam : Identités politiques et itinéraires singuliers à la recherche d’une hypothétique « Troisième voie ».


Principalement à partir des sources vietnamiennes, cet article se propose de présenter succinctement les différents courants politiques non communistes qui ont marqué le xxe siècle au Viêt-Nam. Plus particulièrement, il s’attache à rendre compte de la vigueur du courant nationaliste révolutionnaire incarné principalement par les mouvements nationalistes VNQDĐ, Đại Việt ou Cần Lao, d’en identifier les fondateurs (Trương Tử Anh, Lý Đông A, Ngô Đình Diệm) ou les acteurs et de les replacer dans le processus historique de la révolution vietnamienne. L’étude de ces personnages et mouvements oubliés de l’historiographie officielle est une des clés de compréhension majeure de l’histoire politique du Viêt-Nam au xxe siècle. L’article présente un volet historiographique, un volet identification (mouvements, doctrines, fondateurs, acteurs) et se termine par une mise en perspective sur un près d’un siècle de luttes des années vingt jusqu’à nos jours. Il apparaît ainsi nettement que les nouveaux mouvements politiques clandestins d’aujourd’hui s’inscrivent dans une certaine continuité historique. La conclusion interroge l’échec de cette élite révolutionnaire dans ses tentatives d’instauration d’une « Troisième voie » de type national progressiste qui plonge ses racines dans le nationalisme révolutionnaire de Phan Bội Châu.

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Conceptualizing Vietnam’s Revolutionary Nationalism: Political Identities and Singular Itineraries in Search of a Hypothetical « Third Way »

Primarily from Vietnamese sources, this article aims to briefly introduce the various non-communist political movements that marked the 20th century in Vietnam. More particularly, it focuses on the vitality of revolutionary nationalist movements mainly embodied by nationalist groups such as VNQDD, Dai Viet or Can Lao to identify the founders (Truong Tu Anh, Ly Dong A, Ngo Dinh Diem) and actors, as well as to situate them in the historical process of the Vietnamese revolution. The study of these political figures and movements, forgotten by official historiography, is crucial to the understanding of Vietnam’s twentieth political history. The paper begins with a historiographical analysis followed by a section focusing on the movements, their ideologies, founders and actors and ends with an overview of a century of political struggles from the 1920s until today. Indeed, current clandestine political movements clearly belong within a historical continuity. The conclusion examines the reasons behind this revolutionary elite’s failure to promote a “Third Way”, i.e. a progressive nationalist regime deeply rooted in Phan Bôi Châu’s revolutionary nationalism.

Plan détaillé

  • Des sources encore largement inexploitées
  • Questions de vocabulaire, définitions
Identification du nationalisme révolutionnaire
  • Identification des partis nationalistes révolutionnaires
  1. Dans le courant monarchiste, distinguons les partis et les groupements
  2. Dans le courant républicain nationaliste révolutionnaire
  3. Les autres types de groupements
  • Identification des doctrines politiques
  1. La doctrine de la Survivance du peuple du ĐVQDĐ
  2. La doctrine de la totalité Duy Dân
  3. Le personnalisme révolutionnaire (Nhân vi cách mạng)
  4. Les doctrines des républicains démocrates
Identification et parcours des acteurs
  • Les fondateurs
  1. Trương Tử Anh (1914-1946 ?)
  2. Lý Đông A (1920-1946 ?)
  3. Jean-Baptiste Ngô Đình Diệm (1901-1963)
  • Identification des parcours
  1. Nguyễn Tôn Hoàn (1917-2001)
  2. Nguyễn Ngọc Tân (1921-2001) alias Phạm Thái
  3. Phạm Văn Liễu (1927-2010)
Permanence et évolution du nationalisme révolutionnaire : l’impossible Troisième Voie
  • Un cœur unique, le nationalisme révolutionnaire de Phan Bội Châu
  • Le nationalisme se forge une identité nouvelle :Đại Việt ou Việt Nam ? (1930-1945)
  • Une révolution nationale et patriotique confisquée (1945-1946)
  • Un nationalisme difficile à promouvoir dans la guerre franco-Việt Minh (1946-1955)
  • Quand un nationalisme chasse l’autre (1955-1963)
  • La fragmentation des forces politiques et la multiplication des Fronts (1964-1975)
  • La résistance au communisme : fronts, alliances et mouvements armés (1975-1990)
  • Le temps du changement : les mouvements pro-démocratiques, filiales des partis (depuis 1990)

Lire la suite : Moussons

Référence électronique

François Guillemot, « Penser le nationalisme révolutionnaire au Việt Nam : Identités politiques et itinéraires singuliers à la recherche d’une hypothétique « Troisième voie » », Moussons [En ligne], 13-14 | 2009, mis en ligne le 12 octobre 2012, consulté le 27 octobre 2012. URL :

‘Dragon Lady’ Memoirs Incomplete

A Time cover story on Madame Nhu appeared on August 9, 1963.

The official hostess in South Vietnam’s presidential palace says little of her heydays in her book.

The memoirs of Madame Nhu [1924-2011], the “first lady” of South Vietnam who died recently in exile in Rome, are not expected to shed light on her vast wealth and power, according to a family friend.

“Some readers are eagerly waiting for her memoirs because they want to see what she says about the rumor that she had 17 billion U.S. dollars or about the people who killed her husband. She did not mention those stories,” said  Truong Phu Thu, who is  translating the memoirs—already written by her in French— into Vietnamese.

Madame Nhu  was the sister-in-law of Vietnam’s bachelor President Ngo Dinh Diem, who was in power from 1955 until 1963, and considered herself the nation’s First Lady.  She was an influential and deeply feared political figure in the early days of the Vietnam war and was known as the Dragon Lady of South Vietnam.

Her real name was Tran le Xuan but she was popularly known as  Madame Nhu.

Military coup

Her husband, Ngo Dinh Nhu, was Diem’s brother. He controlled the secret police and special forces. Both men were killed in 1963 in a military coup.

“This memoir is not a normal memoir. Normally when you write a memoir, you write about all the stories that happened in your life, both the happy and sad ones, but this book is not like that,” Thu said in an interview.

“Anybody who wants to see sensational stories or any correction of what she had done should be prepared to be disappointed,” he said.

Thu said he had only received the first and second parts of her book—and is unsure if Nhu, who died at the age of 86, finished writing the final part on politics, which many had expected to be sensational.

The book was supposed to be published this September or October, but because of her death publishing will be delayed until next spring.

Nhu  said “she forgave everyone, including people who shot her husband, let alone people who defamed her,” according to Thu.


Le Chau Loc, the personal assistant of President Diem who had read part of her book, said she also wrote about  meditation and prayers.

“I thought I was reading a memoir of a nun. I think she was suffering a lot …,” he said. “I think this book can be helpful to a lot of Vietnamese women who have been suffering, [who] lost husbands, or children at sea.”

Many Vietnamese perished when there was a mass emigration in  old and crudely made boats during the late 1970s, fleeing from Communist-controlled Vietnam following the Vietnam War.

Nhu, although married to the president’s brother, helped Diem run his household and offered her opinion on all of his decisions. She was once featured on the cover of Time magazine and became the public face of the South Vietnamese regime in media interviews and overseas speaking tours.

She was particularly outspoken against Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire in protest at Diem’s crackdowns.

Her harsh and confrontational words and actions forced her Buddhist father to quit as ambassador to the United States.

Quiet life

After the deaths of her husband and Diem, Madame Nhu was unable to return to Vietnam. She lived with her children in exile in France and Italy, where she led a quiet life until she was hospitalized in early April.

Thu said he had been receiving phone calls and emails enquiring about Nhu’s book, which she began writing about 10 years ago.

Thu said she first wanted translate it into Italian and English by herself but then changed her mind because it took too much time to write and also after being told her the readers would be mostly Vietnamese.

Reported for RFA’s Vietnamese service and translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Rachel Baker.

Source : RFA, 2011-05-04.

Giới thiệu “Hồi Ký Trả Ta Sông Núi” của Ðại tá Phạm Văn Liễu

Phạm Ðiền Như vào tối Thứ Bảy hằng tuần, tạp chí Văn Học Nghệ Thuật do Phạm Điền phụ trách lại đến với quý vị nghe đài. Trả Ta Sông Núi là tựa đề cuốn Hồi Ký của đại tá Phạm Văn Liễu, do nhà xuất bản Văn Hóa ở Houston, Texas ấn hành. Cuốn I và II đã được phổ biến, cuốn III trên đường đến nhà in. Tuần này tạp chí giới thiệu cuốn hồi ký Trả Ta Sông Núi của cựu đại tá Phạm Văn Liễu…

Trong tình trạng sách vở viết về Việt Nam còn thiếu thốn hiện nay, thêm một cuốn sách được một người trong cuộc, từng nằm trong cơn lốc và chứng nhân của các biến động lịch sử kéo dài từ năm 1945 cho đến 1975, tự nó có một giá trị đóng góp lớn cho việc tìm hiểu các sự kiện lịch sử quan trong trong giai đọan lịch sử này.

Tác giả viết hồi ký về cuộc đời mình nên không tránh khỏi những phê phán chủ quan. Độc giả, từ nhiều hướng nhìn khác nhau, có thể đồng ý hay không đồng ý đối với các phê phán lịch sử đó của tác giả. Tuy nhiên , các sự việc tác giả nêu ra với tư cách một người trong cuộc, tự nó cống hiến các sự kiện giá trị, giúp người đọc thấy được bối cảnh chính trị của nhiều thập niên qua, khi dân Việt bước vào giai đọan chiến đấu chống thực dân Pháp và sau đó là chủ nghĩa cộng sản.

Việc để lại cho thế hệ trẻ kinh nghiệm Việt Nam là chủ trương chính của tác giả Phạm Văn Liễu khi viết hồi ký chọn tựa đề cho các tập hồi ký này là “Trả Ta Sông Núi”. Ông Phạm Văn Liễu không xem viết hồi ký là một trò chơi văn chương. Ông muốn qua cuốn hồi ký, kể lại được các trạng huống, các cơn lốc lịch sử và trách nhiệm của thế hệ thanh niên lên đường thập niên 40, tham gia chính trị hay ở trong quân đội. Ông đề cập đến các nguyện ước, hòai bão từ thuở thiếu thời cho đến nay.

Tác giả Pham Văn Liễu thuộc thế hệ thanh niên sống lý tưởng và tham dự trực tiếp vào các cuộc chiến đấu ngay từ giữa thập niên 1940 , can dự trong nhiều vai trò khác nhau. Sau ngày miền Nam sụp đổ, sống lưu vong tại Hoa Kỳ, ông Phạm Văn Liễu tiếp tục theo đuổi cuộc đấu tranh cho nhân quyền và dân chủ ở Việt Nam. Do sức khỏe bị suy yếu, sau thời gian bị kích tim , việc viết hồi ký là phương tiện để đại tá Phạm Văn Liễu kéo dài cuộc tranh đấu.

Trang bìa sau tập Hồi Ký Trả Ta Sông Núi, tác giả không đề cập đến sự thành công, mức độ thành đạt trên đường sự nghiệp mà chỉ cho hay, ông “ nghiền ngẫm viết lại những lỗi lầm đời mình dài theo dòng lịch sử quốc dân làm món quà cho người bạn trẻ”. Một đọan khác, ông viết nguyên văn “ biết đâu những kinh nghiệm máu và nước mắt đời tôi chẳng giúp cho vài ba bạn trẻ nào đó hằng tâm với đất nước, tránh được những vết xe đổ của người đi trước. Ông Phạm Văn Liễu cho biết đó là tâm nguyện duy nhất của người viết.

Tác giả Phạm Văn Liễu, 75 tuổi, sinh quán làng Thọ Vực, phủ Xuân Trường, tỉnh Nam Định. Phần lớn thanh niên thế hệ ông sống có lý tường, yêu nước và tham gia các họat động đấu tranh giành độc lập từ sớm. Năm 1945, ông đã vào trường Quân Chính Vĩnh Yên ở Việt Trì, sau đó trường Lục Quân Trần Quốc Tuấn ở Yên Bái. Sau khi trốn sang Tàu một thời gian vì bị ruồng nã, ông trở về nước và chọn binh nghiệp. Ông tốt nghiệp Võ Bị Liên Quân Đà Lạt khóa 5 vào năm 1952, sau đó là trường Hải Quân Nha Trang.

Ông Phạm Văn Liễu từng sang Mỹ tham dự các khóa tu nghiệp quân sự ở Fort Benning , tiểu bang Georgia, Hoa Kỳ trong hai năm 1956-1957.

Cuộc đời của ông là một chuỗi thăng trầm. Danh sách các chức vụ ông được giao phó trong quân đội cũng như chính quyền dân sự khá dài, chúng tôi chỉ nêu một vài trách nhiệm được nhiều người biết hơn cả trong đó có Sáng lập và Chỉ Huy Trưởng Thủy Quân Lục Chiến Việt Nam 1955, Tham Mưu Trưởng trường Võ Bị Quốc Gia Đà Lạt năm 1957, Chỉ Huy Trưởng Trung Tâm Huấn Luyện Quang Trung Năm 1964. Thứ trưởng Bộ Thanh Niên Nội Các Phan Huy Quát 1965, Tổng Giám Đốc Cảnh Sát Quốc Gia năm 1965-66. Về họat động xã hội và chính trị, năm 1945, tác giả tham gia đòan Thanh Niên Khất Thực để cứu đói 1945; Đại Việt Quốc Dân Đảng 1945. Từng lưu vong qua Trung Hoa 1946 đến 49, lưu vong qua Kampuchia từ 1960 đến 1965 vì liên hệ đến vụ đảo chánh bất thành và từ sau tháng Tư năm 1975, sống lưu vong tại Mỹ.

Trong cuộc đời họat động kéo dài từ giữa thập niên 1940 đến nay, ông Phạm Văn Liễu trực tiếp hay gián tiếp đã có mặt trong các biến động và có cơ hội tiếp xúc, liên hệ đến các nhân vật thời cuộc. Ngay chính ông cũng là một nhân vật có nhiều huyền thọai, như tham dự cuộc đảo chính hụt Tổng Thống Ngô Đình Diệm 1960, và chính biến nhằm lật đổ tướng Nguyễn Khánh.

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Phạm Ðiền Như vào tối Thứ Bảy hằng tuần, tạp chí Văn Học Nghệ Thuật lại đến với quý thính giả. Tuần này tạp chí tiếp tục đề cập đến hồi ký Trả Ta Sông Núi qua cuộc nói chuyện với tác giả Phạm Văn Liễu. Đây cũng là kỳ chót về đề tài này…

Đại tá Phạm Văn Liễu tham dự cuộc đảo chánh lật đổ chế độ Ngô Đình Diệm 11 tháng 11 năm 1960. Khi nỗ lực này thất bại ông cùng với Đại tá Nguyễn Chánh Thi và một số nhân vật khác chạy sang sống lưu vong ở Cambodia. Mãi cho đến năm 1963, khi cuộc đảo chính lật đổ ông Diệm thành công, Hội Đồng Tướng Lãnh đã cho nhóm lưu vong ở Cambodia về nước.

Tiếp sau năm 1963 , miền nam Việt Nam bị xáo trôn mạnh vì những cuộc lên đường, xuống đường của sinh viên, giáo phái, của xung đột chính trị nội bộ. Các cuộc chỉnh lý, chính biến, triệt hạ quyền lực giữa các tướng lãnh đã xảy ra. Sự lên xuống hay thay bậc đổi ngôi của các nhân sự lãnh đạo đã khiến miền nam liên tục bị bất ổn. Ngòai xáo trộn nội bộ, đây cũng là giai đọan cộng sản Miền Bắc khai thác các kẽ hở, và sự suy yếu của miền Nam để gia tăng các họat động của họ. Tập II của Hồi Ký Trả Ta Sông Núi đưa ra rất nhiều chi tiết phong phú mô tả giai đọan tao lọan này.

Cuốn hồi ký Trả Ta Sông Núi cống hiến nhiều dữ kiện lịch sử rất đáng chú ý. Vì thời lượng, tạp chí chỉ nêu một điểm đại cương tác giả đã tâm sự. Mời quý thính giả theo dõi…

© 2004 Radio Free Asia, 2003-04-03 : phần I ; phần II

Jackie Bong-Wright: Autumn Cloud – From Vietnam War Widow to American Activist [2001]

Jackie Bong-Wright, Autumn cloud: From Vietnam war widow to American activist, Sterling, Va., Capital Books, 2001, 311 p.

While the Vietnam War is deeply ingrained in a generation of Americans, its history is often one-sided – flavored with blame, corrupt generals and politicians, drugs, and the Viet Cong. What is rarely heard is the compelling story of ordinary people who struggled amidst chaos and upheaval. “Autumn Cloud” is that story. Born at the beginning of World War II, Jackie Bong Wright stands at the center of the modern Indochinese drama. “Autumn Cloud” follows Ms. Wright as she moves from girlhood on a Cambodian rubber plantation to school in Paris, marries a leading political dissident who is later murdered, escapes to America in 1975 with her children, and makes a new life here with a new American husband.


* * *

Le Thi Thu Van, whose first name translates as Autumn Cloud, was born in 1940 in Cambodia, where her affluent Vietnamese parents lived. She and her large family, like millions of other southern Vietnamese, were profoundly affected by the wars and civil unrest that buffeted Southeast Asia for most of the next four decades: the Japanese occupation during World War II; the First Indochina War from 1945 to 1954, which ended with the humiliating French defeat at Dien Bien Phu; and the American war, which began incrementally in the mid-’50s, peaked in the late-’60s and ended ingloriously with the Communist victory in 1975. Le Thi Thu Van’s family suffered in many ways during these momentous events. The family fortune was lost; one sister abandoned the family to devote her life to the Communist revolution; a brother was killed in the American war; another brother did not survive the Communist postwar “re-education” camps. The author married a reform-minded South Vietnamese politician; he was assassinated, probably by the Vietcong. She was left with three young children. Le Thi Thu Van tells three stories in this smoothly written autobiography: her own, her family’s and Vietnam’s. The most effective sections are the straightforward depictions of the many and varied events of the author’s life and her explanations of Vietnamese society and culture. The least successful are the sketchy historical sections and the author’s staunchly anti-Communist analyses of the reasons behind the American defeat. Overall, though, the author shows very well how Le Thi Thu Van went from “being an innocent girl to a sophisticated wife, an unexpected widow, and finally a professional woman,” known on three continents as Jackie Bong Wright.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


 Source : Virtual Saigon © 1973 New York Times / Barbara Gluck Treaster

Review of Memory is Another Country

February 21st, 2011 by Laura Chirot, NM-TLC Reviewer /// Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen, Memory is another country. Women of the Vietnamese Diaspora, Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, 2009, 212 p.

In his memoir Perfume Dreams, Vietnamese-American writer Andrew Lam recalls his initial impressions of the United States as an eleven year old refugee. The son of a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam who fled Saigon with his parents in 1975, Lam wondered at the insularity of his American classmates’ lives. He remembers thinking, “There were times… when I was very envious of you. History happened to others on TV and you—you who grew up where everyone else wanted to live—could always change the channel. Other times I felt sorry for you. Your immunity from history robs you of the awe and appreciation of seeing how its powerful flow and surge can change everyone, near or far” (1). In twentieth-century Vietnam, as in wartime Europe and other societies rent by war, nobody was immune to the powerful flow and surge of history, which seared people’s private lives.

In Memory is Another Country: Women of the Vietnamese Diaspora, Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen tells the stories of dozens of Vietnamese women in Australia whose lives were shaped by war, revolution and exodus. Nguyen’s narrators discuss their childhoods, families, marriages, careers, losses and refugee experiences.

The book’s haunting postwar images are familiar in the literature of the Vietnamese diaspora: “re-education” expected to last ten days but stretching into a nightmare of months and years; entire families drowning at sea; the corrosive effects of forced exile on family life; and the ever present yearning for an irrevocably lost homeland.

What makes this book remarkable is the number of stories that it collects—the author interviewed forty-two women over the course of a three year oral history project—and its focus on women. Despite the abundant documentation of the Vietnamese refugee experience, Nguyen points out, narratives from the women of South Vietnam are largely absent from the record. Cultural constraints, the pressure to provide for their families in countries of resettlement, the lack of public fora, and the impulse to bury past sorrows under silence are all factors that have kept women from telling their stories.

Nguyen sets out to remedy this absence, in detail and with compassion. She organizes her narrators’ stories into thematic chapters on loss, sisterhood, female soldiers, war, marriage to foreigners and return to Vietnam. Each chapter highlights between two and four women.

Nguyen lets her narrators—identified only by first name—speak for themselves, using long, uninterrupted blocks of quotation. Their narratives are bracketed by Nguyen’s commentary on historical contexts and common themes, and overlaid with theories of trauma and memory.

The theoretical aspect of the book focuses on the construction of memory after traumatic experiences, and the emotional, cultural and gendered aspects of making memory. Against this background, the book’s title takes on two meanings: memory is another country, the lost homeland of South Vietnam, but memory is also a country in itself, where the “memoryscape” is peopled with living and dead relatives and contoured with villages and city boulevards frozen in the past.

The most compelling aspect of Memory Is Another Country is the stories themselves, which form a collage of images of wartime and postwar Vietnam, viewed from the refugeenarrators’ perspective. A nanny remembers seeing children die by the side of a road in the North during the 1945 famine. A former diplomat in South Vietnam’s foreign service falls in love with an Englishman while posted in Europe. A singer performs in nightclubs in the South with the famous Khánh Ly. A southern provincial cinema is bombed by “the Viet Cong” during the screening of a Japanese action film in 1972. A Catholic girl and her family flee south from Thanh Hóa in 1954, paying off Viet Minh cadres along the way, and are greeted by representatives of the International Rescue Committee in Saigon. Another narrator is sheltered during her flight south by her uncle Phan Huy Quát, a State of Vietnam minister of defense who would later serve briefly as prime minister of the Republic of Vietnam. A daughter of Vietnamese colonial administrators leads a privileged, cosmopolitan life in the Phnom Penh of the 1950s and 1960s; her aunt, married to a cousin of Norodom Sihanouk, is later executed by the Khmer Rouge. Before escaping Vietnam by boat, another woman obsessively studies the English names for 200 types of diseases, in case she falls ill while abroad. An overseas Vietnamese returns to her birthplace in Nghệ An in the 1990s to learn that her mother, a benevolent landlord who provided meals for peasants during the 1945 famine, had been denounced during the land reform campaign by those very same peasants.

A set of particularly evocative stories emerges from Nguyen’s narrators’ memories of South Vietnamese society. The women remember a cosmopolitan Republic of Vietnam that accords with Hue-Tam Ho Tai’s observation: “In both the nostalgic recollections of disaffected southerners and the wishful projections of envious northerners, this pre-1975 South is not marked by war, chaos or corruption, but represents an era of abundant consumer goods and relative freedom” (2). These women came of age in the 1950s and 1960s, many as members of prosperous urban families, and they remember the South as a place where young women could pursue their intellectual and professional dreams—dreams which were, of course, quashed with the end of the war. One woman studies medicine and hopes to become a hospital director, inspired by her father who is a prominent acupuncturist and South Vietnamese official. In 1975 she is ejected from university because of her family’s political background. A second woman is in her final year of law school at the University of Saigon when the war ends and the new government shuts down the university. The sharp rupture of April 1975 accentuates the women’s nostalgia for pre-socialist years.

Particularly poignant is the reminiscence of the daughter of booksellers in Biên Hòa who recalls that before 1975, “I read Tolstoy, Romain Rolland, Balzac, Thomas Hardy, I read all the Western writers before I read any Vietnamese books” (p. 16). Her parents’ bookstore and books are destroyed in the postwar campaign against decadent literature:

After 1975, all the books were confiscated and taken away by the government, including all the textbooks of biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, all the dictionaries and you know things that are not ideological . . . [I]n order to create a fair society, a socialist society, individuals had to make sacrifices so my father’s bookshops happened to be in the pathway of history, and history had just crushed my father’s business in order to make everyone enlightened. (p. 21)

The narrators who do try to accommodate themselves to life in a communist society find themselves unable to do so. The daughter of an ethnic Chinese woman in Buôn Ma Thuột joins a youth singing troupe after the end of the war. She is shunned and called bộ đội (the term for communist soldiers) by her old friends, but as tensions flare along the northern border she is compelled to sing anti-Chinese songs and must also endure ethnic slurs from fellow members of the troupe. Another narrator remembers having constant headaches from the incessant blaring of the ubiquitous public loudspeakers that became hallmarks of life after April 1975.

The book’s most interesting historical contribution comes in its third chapter, which chronicles women’s participation in the armed services of South Vietnam. The Women’s Armed Forces Corps (WAFC) originated in the 1950s as an auxiliary corps. By 1975 it consisted of 6,000 women serving in non-combat positions (mostly as nurses). Nguyen argues that, while women’s contribution to the war in the North has been amply recorded, the contribution of women to the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces and the southern war effort has gone largely unrecognized. (One reason is the imbalance in numbers: 60,000 women may have served in the war-time People’s Army of Vietnam.) She interviews four former servicewomen, women who saw service as a route to adventure, independence, and better social status for their families. One woman, Thuy, was a 1954 migrant to the South who joined the WAFC parachute unit, “to hasten the possibility of returning to North Vietnam” (p. 63). Another, Quy, was a student at Saigon’s prestigious Gia Long High School who joined after a Viet Minh cadre threatened to denounce her family in revenge for her refusal to marry him. (Quy’s family later received news that the cadre died in battle.) The women’s patriotism is on full display: one narrator says, “I was in the armed forces and I know that our army fought bravely and tenaciously. They were not lukewarm in their fighting” (p. 84).

At the war’s end, all four of Nguyen’s female veterans were sent to re-education camps. Women who had served in the armed forces and civil service of the Republic of Vietnam, as well as those caught attempting to flee the newly reunified country, could be arrested. Yet there is no re-education memoir published in English or French and written by a woman to accompany the numerous male accounts. One of the narrators was pregnant during her three months of internment. Another describes writing interminable self-criticisms, terrified each time that she would slip and write an inconsistent detail. Lest we think, though, that things were simple, a third narrator describes the humane treatment that prisoners at her camp received from the camp’s sympathetic (and southern) female director. Chapter 3 ends with a moving description of contemporary women’s veterans’ associations, the most invisible and forgotten branch of an already forgotten and much maligned armed force, organizing marches and charity drives in California to aid ailing female veterans in Vietnam.

Decisions about the organization of narrative material are crucial to a collection like this one. Nguyen does not make clear why she chose the particular chapter themes that she did, which overlap somewhat (for example, “war” and “loss” run throughout every story). Nor does she explain why only half of the 42 women interviewed are featured in the book.

A question never addressed in Memory Is Another Country is the ways in which the memories of women who came of age in the Republic of Vietnam and stayed in Vietnam differ from those who left. Would women who did not endure the bitter refugee experience have the same nostalgia for South Vietnam, and for the same reasons? Quite possibly—wistfulness for the intellectual and social freedoms of pre-1975 Saigon is evident even today in conversations with older people in Ho Chi Minh City. But the Vietnamese diaspora is not the sole repository of memories of South Vietnam, and there is a growing (though still restricted) space in contemporary Vietnam for discussion of pre-1975 South Vietnamese society. Some comparison of memory in the diaspora and in contemporary Vietnam might augment the book’s narrative.

As it is, however, Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen’s recording of the stories of this aging generation is extremely valuable. She tells us that the act of remembering, and of documenting memory, is redemptive. The ultimate purpose of her book is not to substantiate or dispute historical facts, but to honor the memories, and thereby the lives and losses, of women of the Vietnamese diaspora.

Laura Chirot graduated from Harvard College in 2008. She spent 2009 and 2010 on the research staff of Vietnam Program of the Harvard Kennedy School ( in Ho Chi Minh City.

1. Andrew Lam, Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora (Berkeley: Heyday Books, 2005), p. 43.
2. Hue-Tam Ho Tai, The Country of Memory: Remaking the Past in Late Socialist Vietnam (Berkeley and Lost Angeles: University of California Press, 2001), p. 182.

Source : New Mandala

Aperçu sur Google Books

Đất Khổ – Land of Sorrows – Terre de douleurs [1971-1974]

[ndlr] Film vietnamien dont le tournage débute en 1971 et se termine en 1974. Le scénario du film s’appuie sur deux romans de Nha Ca. Il relate le vie d’une famille confrontée à la guerre et aux grandes offensives militaires de 1965, 1968 et 1972. Le célèbre compositeur et poète Trinh Cong Son y joue le premier rôle. Sans doute une des raisons pour lequelles le film fut interdit de projection au Sud Viêt-Nam pendant la guerre. Jugé à l’époque “anti-guerre et gauchisant”.

ĐẤT KHỔ: Kịch bản dựa trên tác phẩm Đêm Nghe Tiếng Đại Bác và Giải Khăn Sô Cho Huế của nhà văn Nhã Ca. Khởi sự quay đầu thập niên 1970 và hoàn tất năm 1973 lấy bối cảnh từ 3 biến cố chính trong lịch sử chiến tranh Việt Nam: vụ Tranh Đấu Phật Giáo năm 1965 ở Huế, Việt Cộng tấn công vào Tết Mậu Thân (1968), và mùa hè Đỏ Lửa (1972), cũng gây nhiều sôi nổi và bị cấm chiếu trước 1975 ở miền Nam VN vì nội dung “phản chiến và khuynh tả.”


Version sous-titrée en anglais

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Filmed in 1971, the movie is set in Hue in the days before and during the Tet Offensive 1968 by VC. Its the harrowing and poignant story of the love of family, homeland, and culture during the Vietnam War. This Vietnamese, English-subtitled film dramatizes the effect of the Vietnam War on a single South Vietnamese family, the inner conflict of decisions, ideology by each member of the family.

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Cuốn phim như là bi kịch cho mỗi gia đình Việt Nam, trong cuộc chiến Quốc Gia-Cộng Sản, soi rọi những khía cạnh của cuộc chiến qua tâm cảnh của những nhân vật sống trong thời cuộc: người lính Biệt Động Quân bị lạc ra khỏi binh chủng; một người anh đi lính quân lực Việt Nam Cộng Hòa; người em trai nghệ sĩ đào ngũ với cái nhìn “hiện sinh ngây thơ” về cuộc chiến (nhạc sĩ Trịnh Công Sơn ở lứa tuổi 30); bà mẹ góa chịu đựng (Bích Hợp, nghệ sĩ số 1 của sân khấu cải lương Bắc Hà di cư); cô chị gái, như Hòn Vọng Phu, mòn mỏi đợi ý trung nhân chưa về (Xuân Hà), và cô em út, một teenage sâu sắc với nhiều chất vấn và bất mãn về thời thế (Vân Quỳnh). Phim Đất Khổ cũng có sự xuất hiện của diễn viên Hoa Kỳ Jerry Liles, trong vai một người Mỹ dân sự cao lồng ngồng, bị “mồ côi” và bất lực trong bối cảnh Việt Nam, rất khác với vai trò chủ động của những nhân vật người Mỹ trong những phim ảnh Hollywood về chiến tranh Việt Nam. Đạo diễn: Hà Thúc Cần.


 A propos de ce film voir aussi :

Nhã Ca : Les canons tonnent la nuit – préface de Liêu Truong

Nha Ca par Liêu Truong.

Peu de lecteurs occidentaux connaissent, à ce jour, la littérature du Viêt Nam du Sud des années soixante, soixante-dix, encore moins sa littérature féminine.

Nha Ca fait partie de ces femmes qui illustrent ce qu’on pourrait appeler le phénomène de l’écriture féminine au Viêt Nam du Sud. En effet, avant le partage du pays, en 1954, la présence des femmes dans le monde littéraire était assez modeste ; puis soudain, vers les années soixante, soixante-dix, le public sud-vietnamien découvrit un nombre impressionnant de romans écrits par les femmes. Il commença alors à s’habituer à des noms tels que : Nha Ca, Tuy Hông, Nguyên thi Hoàng, Nguyên thi Thuy Vu, Trung Duong, Lê Hang, Trân thi Ngh…

Trân thi Thu Vân est née sur les bords de la rivière des Parfums, en 1939, sur cette terre de Huê à la fois aristocratique et mélancolique qui a vu naître tant de générations de filles gracieuses dans leur tunique blanche à l’ombre des flamboyants en fleur.

La jeune lycéenne dit un jour adieu à sa vieille ville natale figée dans ses traditions et ses tabous, pour s’envoler vers Saigon où tous les rêves étaient possibles. La voilà flirtant avec la poésie sous le pseudonyme de Nha Ca. Ses poèmes commençaient à paraître dans quelques revues littéraires ; puis, en 1966, ce fut la gloire avec le prix national de Poésie pour son recueil « Nha Ca Moi » [La nouvelle Nha Ca]. C’est aussi en 1966, après un premier roman, Bong tôi thoi con gai (L’ombre qui plane sur des jeunes filles en fleurs), qu’elle publia son deuxième roman Dêm nghe tieng dai bac (Les canons tonnent la nuit), qui fut salué comme un événement et qui marqua le début d’une œuvre féconde avec, en particulier, les romans : Nguoi tinh ngoai mat trân (1967) (L’amant qui se bat au front), Giai khan sô cho Hue (1969) (Portons le deuil de Huê),  Môt mai khi hoa binh (1969) (Un jour quand la paix viendra), Tinh ca cho Huê do nat (1969) (Chant d’amour pour la ville de Huê en ruine), Tinh ca trong lua do (1970) (Chant d’amour dans l’enfer de la guerre), Toa binh-dinh bo không (1973) (Le building abandonné).

Nha Ca a acquis la renommée en dénonçant dans son œuvre, la folie de la guerre, la cruauté des communistes du Nord, la corruption du régime politique du Sud, et en déplorant la déchéance de la société sud-vietnamienne des années soixante, soixante-dix.

Les canons tonnent la nuit est l’histoire d’une famille déjà marquée par la guerre d’Indochine : une grand-mère tuée dans un bombardement, des oncles qui ont trouvé la mort en participant à la Résistance contre le colonialisme ou qui se sont expatriés sans donner signe de vie, une cousine victime d’un viol commis par un soldat étranger – ce viol a été ressenti comme une horreur et un déshonneur, déshonneur qui ne pouvait être réparé, oublié que par le choix d’une vie monacale dans une pagode.

Cette famille a donc quitté sa terre natale, au nord du pays, pour suivre le flot de réfugiés venus s’installer dans le sud. C’est une fille de classe moyenne, unie, heureuse et encore respectueuse des valeurs traditionnelles. Ainsi, par piété filiale, Phan a-t-il accepté la fiancée choisie par ses parents alors qu’il aimait une autre jeune fille.

Or, une fois de plus, cette famille s’est trouvée emportée dans les tourbillons tragiques de l’Histoire. Les jeunes filles vietnamiennes qui avaient un fiancé au front se reconnaissaient aisément dans le personnage de Phuong et les parents qui avaient un fils sur le champ de bataille n’avaient aucune peine à s’identifier aux parents du récit. La guerre n’était pas visible pour les habitants de la capitale, mais tout rappelait sa présence et ses menaces : la radio, les journaux, les soldats en uniforme… et, la nuit, ce monstre froid avançait à pas de géant avec le grondement des canons.

A travers l’histoire de cette famille qui avait nourri l’espoir de trouver une vie meilleure dans le sud, mais qui finalement, confrontée à l’horreur de la guerre, fut meurtrie par la mort du fils ainé, c’est tout le destin du Viêt Nam qui s’est écrit avec du sang et des larmes.

L’accueil chaleureux réservé à ce roman, lors de sa sortie, s’explique sans doute par le fait qu’il s’adressait aux jeunes. En effet, tous les personnages du récit, à l’exception des parents, sont jeunes : Phan, Phuong, Quyên, les quatre frères et sœurs ; Nghia, Hoang, les fiancés ; Hoa, la fiancée choisie par les parents pour Phan ; Hanh, celle qui est choisie par Phan lui-même ; Dông, Mân, les copains ; Xuyên, la copine de Quyên ; enfin Dao, le soldat porteur malgré lui, de la nouvelle fatale.

Pour tous ces jeunes, prisonniers d’un destin implacable, l’avenir n’existait pas. Quyên la narratrice, dit : « Je pense, avec amertume, que je ne pourrais rendre Hoàng heureux. Même si vous voulions nous rendre heureux l’un l’autre, nous ne le pourrions pas. Hoàng doit partir. La nuit, on va encore entendre les canons tonner. Le jour, les gens vont encore s’entretuer, il va y avoir encore des bombardements. Non, même si je faisais des efforts, cela ne changerait rien, et à qui le tour d’être le dernier sacrifié ? Phan, Nghia, Hoàng ? Ou mes enfants ? Mes petits-enfants ?

Le succès s’explique aussi par le fait que ce roman traduit la lassitude et le désespoir de tout un peuple. Il fut publié au moment où la guerre entra dans sa phase meurtrière, destructrice, et qui ne laissait entrevoir aucune possibilité d’en sortir.

Le récit commence et se termine par une sorte de litanie psalmodiée par la narratrice, comme la supplication d’une personne hagarde.

Dans une période de troubles et de bouleversements politiques, économiques et sociaux, les romancières du Viêt Nam du Sud puisaient leur inspiration principalement dans le thème de l’amour ; Nha Ca, elle, a trouvé le dynamisme de sa création littéraire dans la tragédie de la guerre. En effet, la guerre est le thème central de son œuvre jusqu’en 1975, date de la fin de la guerre du Viêt Nam et de la réunification du pays.

Dans Les canons tonnent la nuit Nha Ca porte sur le drame de la guerre un regard de femme qui souffre et qui se révolte.

Liêu Truong

Réf. : Nha Ca, Les canons tonnent la nuit, Arles, Editions Philippe Picquier, 1997, (1966), traduction et préface de Liêu Truong, pp. 5-10.

Principales œuvres de Nhã Ca avant 1975

Nhã Ca mới (1965)

Đêm nghe tiếng đại bác (1966)

Bóng tối thời con gái (1967)

Khi bước xưống (1967)

Người tình ngoài mặt trận (1967)

Sống một ngày (1967)

Xuân thì (1967)

Những giọt nắng vàng (1968)

Đoàn nữ binh mùa thu (1969)

Một mai khi hòa bình (1969)

Mưa trên cây sầu đông (1969)

Phượng hoàng (1969)

Dạ khúc bên kia phố (1970)

Tình ca trong lửa đỏ (1970)

Đời ca hát (1971)

Lặn về phía mặt trời (1971)

Trưa áo trắng (1972)

Tòa bin-đing bỏ không (1973)

Bước khẽ tới người thương (1974)…