Thursday, April 26, 2012

Visiting Dr. Patterson's Class

Last night I visited with Dr. Bob Patterson's class at NCSU, shared the film, and chatted with them afterwards. Once again his students impressed me with great questions and feedback.

Last night was especially awesome because Vien Siu, who is featured in the film, visited the class and talked with us. Also a man named Den, his wife, and his son also visited and provided another perspective: that of a South Vietnamese family who lived during the war and is now in the States.

I can't tell you how great it was to have so many different perspectives, and everyone willing to have a grounded, genuine conversation.

We talked about what happened so long ago and how it's related it to what's happening today. We talked about how this subject has been brushed under the carpet, and few people know anything about it. We talked about how books on the subject are hard to find, and I confessed that I hope to write one in order to change that.

We talked. And it was great.

You see, I don't get to talk about this stuff very often in daily life. When you're tailgating or having dinner or doing whatever you do socially, most people don't want to talk about the Vietnam War because it happened so long ago. A lot of people know very little about it, just like I did when I started this film. Talking about foreign policy, global trade relationships, and human rights atrocities also doesn't win you a lot of friends in the social scene either. So I don't get to talk about it a whole lot.

But I feel like this stuff is really, really important.

I feel like our country did something wrong, and I'm not here to point fingers or place blame. I do, however, want to have healthy conversations like we did last night. Conversations that might open the mind of another person, and shed a bit of light on something important. And if these conversations and knowing some facts (especially stories that aren't making daily headlines) moves people enough, perhaps they will take action.

Little actions make a big difference, I believe. And I never underestimate the power of a motivated group of individuals. The folks in that room last night won my heart, and I am so grateful they came to watch my film.

It's taken a long time to get to this point, and finally somewhat understand such complex subject. There are so many facets to it, and I am left with more questions than answers. I don't pretend to know what'll happen next, but I desperately hope that it's a beautiful and positive change for everyone. And I think that's possible.

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