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Ngô Kha, Vietnam’s Civil Wars, and the Need for Forgiveness

This article describes Ngô Kha, a teacher, poet, army officer, and anti-government activist from Huế who was seized by undercover policemen in February, 1973, and never seen again. It describes his teaching, writing, friendship with Trịnh Công Sơn, and his antiwar activities, including his participation in a breakaway unit of the Saigon army that fought Nguyễn Cao Kỳ’s forces in 1966. It highlights the sadness of Vietnam’s civil wars and the difficulty, in reconstructing wartime events, of finding unbiased sources. It concludes by proposing that “pure forgiveness,” discussed by the Vietnamese American writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, may be the only way to end perpetual war.

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