It’s the rumor that refuses to die, and it’s bothering the heck out of the USS Midway Museum‘s marketing director.
The former aircraft carrier, now a museum, is planning a special exhibit for Black April. In 1975, when Saigon fell, the USS Midway played an instrumental role in Operation Frequent Wind, where from international waters the U.S. 7th Fleet received more than 50,000 Vietnamese fleeing the advancing communist forces.
It is therefore fitting, the museum’s management must have thought, that they put together an exhibit about Operation Frequent Wind, invite the Vietnamese-American community to be part of the organizing efforts, and make everyone happy.
And it does. The exhibit, to be held on April 30, is expected to draw a big crowd.
But then a rumor began surfacing that General Nguyen Cao Ky, former Prime Minister and then Vice-President of South Vietnam, was invited to speak as a special VIP guest. For going to live the remaining of his days in Vietnam, the 80-year-old Ky has been called a commie.
He wasn’t invited to speak. And the museum’s Marketing Director Scott McGaugh said so to Nguoi Viet Daily News (read here in Vietnamese). Other people also asked, and he said it again a March email, read here.
But apparently people weren’t listening. They kept asking and asking until, exhasperated, McGaugh hit back in an Apr. 26 email:
“I don’t understand why people do not believe the USS Midway Museum. …. With all due respect, it is disrespectful to the USS Midway Museum not to take us at our word by spreading or listening to such rumors.”
That very afternoon, Tuan Phan, a frequent contributor to the right-wing listservs, immediately said he didn’t believe McGaugh and called for a boycott. Read here in Vietnamese.
Said Phan, “Who can believe the Americans?” He accused the USS Midway of allegedly standing by while Chinese forces wrested the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam in 1974. And he called for a boycott.
The boycott will likely get no takers. But still, if this whole saga doesn’t make people think twice before doing something nice for the Vietnamese community, the Bolsavik doesn’t know what will.
(At least the Bolsavik now learns a nice way of saying, “You calling me a liar?”)