Naming out Grief:
Three Refugee Tales, Fact & Fiction

by Andrea Louie

[November 4, 2005]


One of the latest debates taking place on the streets and in the country’s most respected newsrooms is whether to call victims of recent the hurricane refugees. Some say that the word is insulting. It implies that the evacuees, so many of whom were people of color, are not citizens. Author Andrea Louie contends that no other word encapsulates the experience of being forced to leave home against one’s will; no word whether evacuee or survivor or other euphemism connotes the grief. The sorrow of displacement and loss knows no nationhood. And yet, considering all the paths which have led to our particular doorstep, perhaps we can say that the refugee experience is a uniquely American one.

Louie will give selected readings from her novel in progress, Pang, and an anthology, Topography of War: Asian American Essays, for which she is coeditor, which examine the refugee experience from an Asian American perspective.






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