The biggest news of the world--bigger than the US Open, bigger than the treaty with Iran, bigger than the economic melt-down ongoing in China--is this: the refugee crisis. If you haven't been watching it, if you haven't been reading about it, you most probably are spending your time twiddling your fingers in a cave.
Ever since I got into travel writing, I've been told to read the works of Joseph Conrad, Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, Bruce Chatwin, Paul Theroux, William Dalrymple, Bill Bryson, and other white men. While I learned a lot from their stories, I was also repeatedly left with questions about misogyny and racial insensitivity.
Tanya Hartman is a storyteller. Her work, in all its varying disciplines (painting, crafting, mixed media) covers a large swath of ground, ensuring all the details of her tales are taken into account. So That I May Carry You With Me is an exquisitely detailed pastiche at the Daum Museum in Sedalia, Missouri.
This is a speech I gave last year at a high school where students raised funds to help flood victims in central Vietnam. As the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War is coming up this April 30, 2015, I am posting it to commemorate the date. It will also mark my 40th year in America, having fled Vietnam as a child two days before the war ended.
Less attention has been paid to the émigrés who worked on behalf of peace and reconciliation in former Yugoslavia. These activists supported peace organizations in the region, helped to spread the word of human rights violations, and worked in large numbers for international organizations, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague.