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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Grievous Death

Grievous Death

(p.120) CHAPTER 6 Grievous Death
After the Massacre

Heonik Kwon

University of California Press

This chapter deals with the ritual of reburial in Vietnamese culture. It is believed that the spirits of the dead, in negative physical circumstances, continue to relive the dreadful drama of violent death, and that they are unable to find a way out of it on their own. This is how ritual interventions become necessary to break the perpetual captivity. Reburial in this context contributes to dividing the life of the dead into past and present. In traditional Vietnamese belief, the morality of death was understood not only in temporal-genealogical and spatial-concentric terms but also in a legal language, suggesting that death could be “just” or “unjust.” In this regard, this chapter also introduces the idea of “liberation from grievance”, a concept central to understanding popular Vietnamese war commemoration practices.

Keywords:   Vietnamese culture, ritual interventions, reburial, morality, liberation, grievance

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