On November 3rd, PBS will be airing “Terror in Little Saigon”, an investigative report on the unresolved events that inspired several stories in The Sympathizer.
One of the stories in The Sympathizer deals with the Front, an organization of South Vietnamese veterans trying to take back their homeland. Another deals with a murdered Vietnamese American journalist. Both stories are connected, and drew from real life incidents in Vietnamese American history. Now PBS is going to run an investigative report into the actual Front and the murders of several Vietnamese American journalists in the 1970s and 1980s. Tony Nguyen is a consulting producer, and his documentary Enforcing the Silence, about a left-wing Vietnamese American activist who was murdered, was one of the sources I looked at.
FRONTLINE and ProPublica released an announcement about their investigation:
For more than a decade, an organization headed by former South Vietnamese military men ran a death squad on American soil — killing journalists, torching businesses, intimidating those who challenged its dream of re-starting the Vietnam War. The FBI spent years trying to build a case, but to this day no one has ever been arrested in what the authorities classified as a multi-state case of domestic terrorism.
ProPublica and Frontline re-opened the investigation, talked to victims and suspects, examined once classified files, uncovered government missteps and won startling admissions. Five members of the organization, known as the Front, conceded the group had run an assassination squad. It even had a nickname: “K-9.”
You can watch the trailer below:
Viet Thanh Nguyen is a Los Angeles-based professor, teacher, critic and fiction writer, author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America and numerous short stories in Best New American Voices, TriQuarterly, Narrative and other magazines. He is the editor of diaCRITICS. More info here.
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