Saturday, January 17, 2009

Democracy At Work (Depending on Which Side)

At the press conference on Friday's morning in VAALA's headquarters while about 60 protesters standing outside with their anti-communist chants and Freedom Flags, the organizers of the controversial exhibit "FOB II: Arts Speak" announced that they will close the exhibit immediately. One of the main reasons is because Santa Ana City code inspector told the organizers they did not have gallery permit for the ground floor of the office building they had leased. The other reason is of course the threat of a massive demonstration this Saturday (which is doubtful because these anti-communist groups lack the majority support of the community)

Assemblyman Van Tran, R-Costa Mesa, also put VAALA on notice with his political ultimatum of cease and desist. In a letter to VAALA, Tran compared the exhibit as promoting a Nazi flag with a bust of A. Hitler in the middle of a community of Holocaust survivors.
The only real drama of the day was an emotional statement from Han Doan, the father of Brian Doan, the photographer who composed the now infamous picture. He apologized to the community and asked VAALA to remove the picture. He expressed his anger at his son's insensitive toward the community. He revealed that he spent a decade in concentration camp under the communist regime.
VAALA is a victim of bad timing and wrong motive in organizing the exhibit considering the current highly sensitized political climate of the community in Little Saigon and of course in Vietnam with the communist government cracking down on religious dissidents as well as innocent people

However, it is a shame that VAALA can not continue on with its exhibit due to the pressure of extreme right wing groups, albeit that they are powerful with Assemblyman Van Tran as their de-facto leader.

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