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In Marseilles, I met an illegal immigrant from Nghe An. He said his boss and housemates in Paris were all from the same province. Long known for its poverty, Nghe An leads Vietnam in the ratio of people working overseas, with most never returning. In fact, so many have become illegal in South Korea, Vietnam... Read More
Chanthaburi, Thailand, 2018
History is primarily a chronicle of wars and invasions, most often among neighbors, so every inch of every border has been fiercely fought over, for that’s how any population maintains its autonomy, integrity and identity. Plus, you need land to prosper so, often, you grab your neighbor’s when he’s weak. Everyone has done this. Everyone.... Read More
Even more than eating for fun, the main pleasure of Vietnam is mingling, but that's only if you enjoy being around people, which Vietnamese obviously do, and here, community life is most intense and intimate in alleys. The French gave Hanoi and Saigon a facelift, so there are straight streets, grand boulevards and many traffic... Read More
Vietnamese children in Akreiy Ksatr, Cambodia, 2018
When the French ruled Indochina, they had a shortage of white collar workers in Cambodia and Laos, so solved it by bringing in many thousands of Vietnamese, which, understandably, didn’t please the Cambodians and Laotians too much. Most of these Vietnamese would be kicked out in waves, sometimes violently, as happened in Cambodia during the... Read More
Phnom Penh, 2018
Cambodia makes good, cheap beer, so I was sitting in some lunch place with yet another can of Angkor, after having polished off a plate of fatty pork with rice. Two tables away, a girl sat, doing her homework. She had a machine that sang out, “Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O!” and so on.... Read More
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Traveling, I prefer to be on the ground, for that’s how you get an overview of the countryside. The bus from Saigon to Phnom Penh took more than seven hours, but that included 30 minutes for lunch, plus 45 more at the border. My seatmate was a young fellow, Morris, from Halle, Germany, and we... Read More
Vinh Chau Chinese at the Seven Wonders Restaurant, Saigon, 2018
In the 17th century, the Manchus conquered China, causing thousands of defeated Chinese soldiers and their families to flee to Vietnam, then divided between north and south. The Nguyen Clan, rulers of the south, granted these Chinese land in nominal Cambodian territory, paving the way for Vietnam’s annexation of a third of Cambodia. This obscure... Read More
Chicago, 2012
Millions of Americans still have ties to their ancestral country. Two years ago, I met an 54-year-old man who would periodically visit his family home in Abruzzo. Its grape vines and olive trees had been sold a long time ago, and the house itself was little more than a husk, thanks to thieves, “Locals, not... Read More
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It was a 200-mile journey from Saigon to Dak Lak, a highlands province that saw much fighting during the Vietnam War. Just north of Saigon, I passed quite a few grand villas, with two dog statues on gate columns, though some owners outdid their neighbors by having lions instead. The further north I went, the... Read More
Vung Tau cafe, 2017
And so we’re in Vung Tau, a sleepy, seaside city at the mouth of the Saigon River. I’m staying in a hotel owned by an Army unit. My room is quiet, cheap and has an ample balcony with an ocean view. I’ve only stumbled onto two other guests, each sitting on a massage chair. The... Read More
Hanoi, 2017
With only a week and a half in Hanoi, I’ve been out and about almost nonstop. This article, then, is being jotted down at 5:11AM, as I’m lying in bed on my stomach at the Letters Home guesthouse. Stuck in a grim alley in an unfashionable neighborhood, it’s not exactly popular, so about the only... Read More
Tarragona, Spain, 2017
In Catalonia, there’s a summer drink that combines beer with lemon soda. In Barcelona, it’s called “clara.” Further South, it’s dubbed, most charmingly, a “champu,” as in Head and Shoulders. Champu is quite good at eliminating the dandruff inside your skull. It is late summer, and I’m in Cambrils, drinking my second champu in Hawaii,... Read More
Olargues, 2017
For the price of a Motel 6, Jonathan Revusky and I have three floors in Florensac, a village of 5,000 in southern France. This house is older than the USA, for sure, with raw wooden beams in the ceilings, stone floors, twisting stairs, odd angled walls, and an entrance to the bathroom so low, the... Read More
Becky Anderson in Barcelona, 2017
The Muslim conquest of Hispania began in 711 and ended in 1492. In Catalonia, they were expelled by 1154, with their last stronghold the mountainous village of Siurana, which today has but 39 residents, though with several restaurants for tourists. Walking through it, I almost felt like I was in a theme park or movie... Read More
Monica Hotel in Cambriles, Spain, 2017
In 1937, Orwell was shot in the neck during the Spanish Civil War. Known mostly as a political allegorist, Orwell was also a master at describing all that is see­n, heard and felt, so in Homage to Catalonia, you can read about his near death experience, “Roughly speaking it was the sensation of being at... Read More
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The Western media shame Germans, stay silent on endless attacks against Muslim countries and insist on massive immigration into mostly white nations. Meanwhile, false flags are staged that are blamed on Muslims, with the aim of flaming hatred between pale, nominal Christians and darker Muslims, for this animosity distracts from the systematic economic and war... Read More
Mexico City, 2017
Jonathan Revusky and I were in Mexico City for eight days. Though Jon had been there twice, this was my first taste of this extremely complex, exhilarating and sophisticated metropolis. For $85 a night, we had a spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Cuauhtémoc. It was cheaper than, say, Spokane, yet here we were in a... Read More
Rue Saint Hubert in Montreal, 2017
Despairing Americans often threaten to move to Canada, but how many even know what it’s like now? Many liberals assume that our northern neighbor is more progressive, while those on the right might think that it’s, ah, whiter. Ask your average American to name ten Canadians, and it’s likely that nine will be white guys... Read More
Rudy Dent in Detroit, 2017
On February 18th, I was in Detroit to attend a presentation, “The War on Islam: 9/11 Revisited, Uncovered & Exposed.” Sponsored by the Nation of Islam, it featured Kevin Barrett, Richard Gage and Christopher Bollyn. Prefacing, Ilia Rashad Muhammad remarked that 9/11 is more relevant than ever, since it has been used to curb the... Read More
A Sign by Henry Herskovitz
Say Ann Arbor and people will think of Michigan football, with the second biggest stadium in the entire world, behind only North Korea’s Rungrado May Day Stadium. The annual marijuana rally, Hash Bash, may also come to mind. Downtown is filled with hip cafés, trendy shops, comfy brewpubs and sophisticated restaurants. These kids have money,... Read More
Gay Pride Parade in Vietnam.  Credit: VietPride
I last saw Vietnam in 2001. Back then, Saigon had no American fast food joints save a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long-term foreign residents were few, and mostly confined to the Phạm Ngũ Lão area. There were no foreign stars in the just-established professional soccer league. Now in Saigon, there are 20 KFCs, eight Burger Kings... Read More
Protest outside AIPAC Convention, Washington 2015
John Kerry’s speech of December 28th, 2016 is an eye-opening indictment of Israel. Though prolix and padded with platitudes, its meat is a long overdue j’accuse. Much of the world has long viewed the Jewish state as a serial landgrabbing killer. Indirectly, Kerry converged with this near consensus, “the settler agenda is defining the future... Read More
Christmas Market display, Leipzig, 2015
Few cultural traditions are as charming, beautiful and unifying as the German Christmas Market. For about a month, the center of each German city or town becomes a festival ground, where folks can eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company. The offerings of gluhwein, wursts, flammkuchen, fish stew, handbrot, cinnamon stars, carved figurines and tiered... Read More
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Germany is smaller than California. Within the last two years, it has allowed in roughly two million Muslim refugees and immigrants, all by fiat. Having no voice in this radical demographic change, many Germans are fuming. Last year, I wrote from Leipzig that Germany has lost its autonomy and sanity. Teaching at the university, I... Read More
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On 9/11/2001, Donald Trump did a live phone interview with New York’s WWOR. Digging this up 15 years later, Politico and Mother Jones pointed out how Trump bragged about the new status of his 71-story Trump Tower, “40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World... Read More
Rudy List and Henry Herskovitz
Though each life is rich, some are staggeringly so. Over four days in July, I had a series of conversations with Rudy List at his house in Dexter, Michigan. A 74-year-old retired math professor, Rudy introduced me to Hua Luogeng, Zitang Zhang and Terence Tao. In return, I told him about Otto Dix, Cindy Sherman,... Read More
Protest Against Netanyahu in Washington DC, 2015
Justifying the War on Terror, George Bush huffed, “We’re fighting them there, so we don’t have to fight them here.” Broke, gullible or crazed Americans must be sent overseas to combat Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, the Taliban and ISIS. Otherwise, endless terror would devastate the homeland. Periodically, terror plots must be orchestrated by the FBI... Read More
Leipzig Bar, 2015
A friend in Frankfurt emailed me on July 19th: It is sheer madness what is happening here… The noose is tightening and yet—it is still only the beginning… What took place in some dull regional express close to Würzburg, a town in Franconia in the middle of Germany, was—in some respect—like a watershed event—just like... Read More
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A billboard for Comcast pitches a lineup of “reality” shows, with this caption, “Recommended for you. Because real reality is boring.” In contemporary America, real reality is also less real than Big Brother’s cartoony version. While we’re driving, walking, at work, lying in bed or even in the bathroom, Big Brother dictates what we know.... Read More
Certaldo, Italy
From “Positano,” a 1953 article by John Steinbeck: This tale of an outsider being embraced is very resonant to me, as I’m always outside of everywhere, even my birthplace. Living in Saigon from 1999 to 2001, I was often mistaken for a Taiwanese, simply because I was fatter and lighter than the locals, and my... Read More
Motoyuki Shibata in New York City, 2016
In Japan, even a serious writer may be seen on mass advertising, and a translator can become a star. One of Japan’s most famous intellectuals, Motoyuki Shibata is a specialist on American literature. He has translated books by Thomas Pynchon, Paul Auster, Steven Millhauser and Stuart Dybek, among others. Shibata is also the editor of... Read More
I hadn’t even changed money when a guy in a military jacket approached me for a donation for Ukraine’s war efforts, and he was quite persistent too. This happened in Maidan Square, now turned into a death shrine, with photos of sacrificed soldiers scattered all over. Of different sizes, many were draped with rosary beads... Read More
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I was surprised by how grimy and sooty Budapest was. So many of its buildings, once gorgeous, were in an advanced state of decay. This city looked better before World War II, for sure, and certainly a century ago. Since escaping Communism, Budapest is regaining its glories, though not at the same pace as Prague.... Read More
In 1985, Czeslaw Milosz said in an interview, “The importance of the movement in Poland, of Solidarity, is that it is not just a Polish phenomenon. It exemplifies a basic issue of the twentieth century. Namely, resistance to the withering away of society and its domination by the state. In the Poland of Solidarity, owing... Read More
T-shirt Being Sold in Leipzig. Credit: Linh Dinh
The only way to solve a refugee problem is to stop generating refugees. Since arriving in Germany 3 ½ months ago, I’ve made this point over and over. Most Germans, though, are only focused on the issue of accepting or rejecting refugees, not on the root cause of it, which is America and Israel’s deliberate... Read More
Though we head into 2016 without a direct war between the US and Russia, such a conflict still hovers over mankind. It’s hard to imagine Uncle Sam relinquishing his supremacy without a crazed fight. By abetting Turkey in shooting down that Russian plane, the US achieved one important objective, at least, and that’s scuttling the... Read More
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I gave a reading, slide talk in Leipzig. You can’t count on too many people coming to such an event. It is said that a favorite line at any poetry reading is, “And this is my last poem.” Around 40 people actually showed up, however, with some even having to sit on the floor. They... Read More
October 3rd was the Anniversary of the Reunification of Germany. Having arrived in Leipzig just days earlier, I decided to take a long walk with my friend Olliver Wichmann. Though we covered nearly 20 miles that day, we saw no national flag on display, only an East German one in Grünau, a neighborhood of huge,... Read More
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During the current refugee crisis in Europe, it is said that there are many imposters among genuine refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen, all countries, incidentally, that America and its allies have destroyed. Too many of them are men, it is pointed out, and they’re generally not dressed badly enough. Many have smart... Read More
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Ignorance is renewed with each newborn, and by the time any man figures out anything, he can almost feel the mortician leaning over his stiff face. Though all lessons are embalmed within history, few care to explore that infinite corpse. Lewis Mumford, “So far from being overwhelmed by the accumulations of history, the fact is... Read More
Carolina K. Smith MD / Shutterstock.com
Since September 11, 2001, Bin Laden had been mostly an absence. His few video or audio tapes were highly suspect, and speculations about his death had often surfaced. On July 11, 2002, Amir Taheri wrote in the New York Times, "Osama bin Laden is dead. The news first came from sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan... Read More
In 1928, Ho Chi Minh was in Thailand while his Chinese wife, Zeng Xueming, remained in Canton. He sent her this letter: “From the day we parted, already more than a year. I miss you with such anguish, it needn’t be said. Borrowing rosy wings, I send a few lines to reassure you. Such is... Read More
We’re witnessing the last grotesque convulsions of a dying empire. As it threatens humanity with annihilation, it’s also nauseating the still sane among us with an unending farce, as in the hypocrite Kerry declaring, “this is not the time to be silent spectators to slaughter,” but John, you lying cynic, the world has been asked... Read More
Linh Dinh
About Linh Dinh

Born in Vietnam in 1963, Linh Dinh came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). He has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. He is also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US, and has also published widely in Vietnamese.