“This is too much! It seems like I just get over one crisis and another occurs. I need to piece my soul together.” So blurted author Sieu Sean Do’s mother after the family’s harrowing and narrow escape into Viet Nam from the Khmer Rouge genocide in their native Cambodia. Sieu Sean’s memoir of the family’s journey from an idyllic childhood in rural Cambodia through the hell of the Killing Fields is his work through witnessing and storytelling to piece his soul together.
Sieu’s narrative of the family’s long ordeal is largely straightforward. He was a child and teenager during these ordeals, so we see them through the innocent boy’s eyes. The narrative piles incident upon incident as challenges, crises, betrayals, disappointments, abandonments, starvation, crimes, executions, and accidental deaths cascade not only upon this family, but all of Cambodia. Yet the story takes us to Cambodian traditions and intimately into his large extended family that, miraculously, survived together. As he summarizes at the end, “Our elders taught us well that we need to survive not just alone, but together.” Thus, as readers we have close encounters not just with the horrors of genocide, but the intimacies of a traditional Cambodian family and many traditional practices and folk tales that surround and support the survivors in their ordeals.
American psychotherapist Edward Tick’s Warrior’s Return. Restoring the Soul after War (Sounds True, 2014) has been translated into Italian and published last March by Nerosubianco publisher with the title Il ritorno del guerriero. Guarire l’anima dopo la guerra.
The book will be launched on Thursday 5 May in Turin at 18:00. The Centre for Peace and Non-Violent Culture “Sereno Regis” will host the event. The author will join the event remotely to dialogue with the translators Gianluca Cinelli and Patrizia Piredda and answer the questions from the public.
The book will be launched again the following day (Friday 6 May) in Cuneo at 16:30. The event will be hosted by the Institute for the History of Italian Resistance in Cuneo (http://www.istitutoresistenzacuneo.it). The Italian translators and the publisher will be discussants.
San Fernando, CA: Tia Chucha Press, 2021. 187 pages
Seeking the most powerful healing practices to address the invisible wounds of war, Dr. Ed Tick has led journeys to Viet Nam for veterans, survivors, activists and pilgrims for the past twenty years. This moving and revelatory collection documents the people, places and experiences on these journeys. It illuminates the soul-searching and healing that occurs when Vietnamese women and children and veterans of every faction of the “American War” gather together to share storytelling and ritual, grieving, reconciliation and atonement. These poems reveal war’s aftermath for Vietnamese and Americans alike and their return to peace, healing and belonging in the very land torn by war’s horrors.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Moral Injury have proven to be of epidemic proportions in our military and veteran populations but very difficult to treat. Healing efforts must not merely strive for symptom reduction and control but match the transformed inner worlds, life experiences and values of the survivors, provide corrective experiences that counteract the traumas, and offer a life and growth path consistent with military service. Our training day will present Dr. Tick’s proven “Soldier’s Heart” holistic and psycho-spiritual-communal model for the understanding and practices that bring true healing, homecoming and transformation to our military and veterans.
Be able to present relevant lessons from world warrior traditions.
Understand the sacred and moral dimensions of military service and warriorhood.
Gain a holistic understanding of Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Understand and be able to apply the concept of soul wounding to PTSD and Moral Injury.
Understand and be able to report the Necessities of Warrior Return.
Understand the Soldier’s Heart Transformational Model and Path of Homecoming and apply it to direct work with veterans.
Understand the concept of Moral Injury and be able to offer strategies for Healing and Recovery.
Understand and apply the concept of restoring the warrior archetype.
Seeking the most comprehensive and holistic healing of war wounds possible, I have been leading annual reconciliation journeys to Viet Nam for veterans and other war survivors every year since the twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of the war in 2000. Encounters between survivors of all sides squeeze long-ago memories and feelings out of American and Vietnamese alike. Through poetry I record the voices and stories of women and men who lived through extraordinarily close encounters during war and again on meeting today. These encounters show the depths and complexities of our emotional lives during times of warfare and its aftermath when we can transform fear and hatred into understanding, compassion and love.
Dear readers of Close Encounters in War, we are delighted to publish another poetic contribution about the Vietnam war, this time from the perspective of a Vietnamese veteran: Trần Đình Song, who served in the Southern Vietnamese Air Force and was in the re-education forced labour camps after the war. This beautiful poem was written in 1966, and although the horror of civil war war haunted the Author and his country, his words are full of love and hope. We publish the poem in its original version, accompanied by the new English translation that the Author made with his friend and member of the CEIWJ Editorial Board Edward Tick.
Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine, 5, 2 (2020)
The American War in Viet Nam created significant divisions among their population. Factions include southern Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN) veterans, northern People’s Republic or North Vietnamese Army (NVA) veterans, Viet Cong (VC)veterans who were essentially militia, non-combatant Pioneers – largely women, Agent Orange victims. All these are now treated as one people, one family. Some government prejudice and denial of benefits remains toward ARVN vets, but as we will see not among the common people. We turn to our American experiences in the Viet Nam of today of otherness, differentness, moral responsibility for the war, the possibilities of reconciliation between former foes. How do the Vietnamese experience us? And what is our experience of being the outsiders from our country that formerly invaded this land?
Download the open-access article as PDF for free HERE.
Poet, author, psychotherapist and international activist and guide, Edward Tick, Ph.D., (www.edwardtick.com) is author of four nonfiction books, including War and the Soul, and two volumes of poetry. A specialist in war and trauma healing and the cultures of Viet Nam and Greece, Ed uses the humanities, literature, cross-cultural and ancient psycho-spiritual-cultural practices for healing.
We present in this section a collection of testimonies and short essays from veterans, therapists, witnesses, practitioners and others who have experienced close encounters in war in person or through their work and connections.