Playing Geopolitical Whack-a-Mole: The Viet Nam Flag Issue Revisited

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (from Requiem for a Nun by William Faulkner)

Sadly, the “flag issue” is very much alive at many educational institutions, especially those with nearby Vietnamese immigrant communities. If you’re intrigued by the title and/or introduction below, follow this link to read the article. I include advice for colleagues about how to deal with this situation, should it arise.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

If a US educational institution enrolls Vietnamese students, chances are there’s a Vietnamese flag displayed somewhere, perhaps in the student center, along with the flags of the other countries represented in that school’s international student population. I’m referring to the red flag with a yellow star not the yellow one with three red stripes flag of a country that was relegated to the dung heap of history 44 years ago.

If there is an overseas Vietnamese community located nearby, it’s only a matter of time before it catches wind of this fact like flies to honey. If the administration doesn’t acquiesce, the smiles will quickly vanish from their faces and what started out as an innocuous and upbeat initial encounter could quickly metamorphose into a battle of words and emotions. For many overseas Vietnamese, the war didn’t end in April 1975 but continues, at least in thought, word and, occasionally, murderous deed.