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After the MassacreCommemoration and Consolation in Ha My and My Lai$
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Heonik Kwon

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520247963

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520247963.001.0001

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(p.176) Conclusion
After the Massacre

Heonik Kwon

University of California Press

This chapter explores the idea of “liberation from grievous history” and examines its wider political and ethical implications. The key aspect of contemporary Vietnamese memory politics is the fact that the emerging local social forms have redefined the bond between past and present generations, thereby challenging the authority of the state hierarchy. Therefore, changes in the social life of the dead mirror changes in the political life of the living. Concerning the three classes of the dead (heroes, ancestors, and ghosts) in Vietnamese social reality, the ritual ties with ghosts best illustrate the magical unity between the local and the cosmopolitan. Liberation from grievance, for the victims of mass death in the Monkey Year, is a way of transcending the recovery of the unity of humankind denied in the former and a universal norm concealed in the symbolic forms of communal unity.

Keywords:   liberation, grievous history, memory politics, Monkey Year, communal unity

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