Refugee Writers Ariel Dorfman and Viet Thanh Nguyen on Migration, US Wars and Resistance

As dozens of migrants from Central America remain camped out at the US-Mexico border attempting to seek asylum in the United States, we spend the hour with two of the nation’s most celebrated writers, both refugees themselves. Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1971. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, he and his family fled to the United States. He is the author of three books, including The Sympathizer, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and he teaches at the University of Southern California. He is also the editor of a new collection titled The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. We are also joined by the Chilean-American writer Ariel Dorfman, who has been described as one of the greatest Latin American novelists. Forty-five years ago, he fled Chile after a US-backed coup displaced President Salvador Allende. Dorfman had served as Allende’s cultural adviser from 1970 to 1973. Living in exile, he became one of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s most vocal critics, as well as a celebrated playwright and novelist. Dorfman, who teaches at Duke University, has just published a new novel, Darwin’s Ghosts, and a new collection of essays titled Homeland Security Ate My Speech. He also contributed an essay to “The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives.”

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: More than 70 migrants from Central America remain camped out at the US-Mexican border attempting to seek asylum in the United States. They were all part of a month-long caravan that brought refugees fleeing violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to the US border. Organizers say 158 members of the caravan have already crossed the border, where their asylum requests will be processed. But experts predict most of the asylum applications will be rejected.

President Trump has repeatedly railed against the asylum seekers. In one recent tweet, the president wrote, “Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming.”

The standoff at the US border comes as a new report shows the number of…

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