Tomorrow, Chatham University hosts a discussion by author, humanitarian and activist Le Ly Hayslip, author of the 1989 memoir When Heaven and Earth Changed Places. The book, which Oliver Stone adapted into the 1993 film Heaven & Earth, offers a unique perspective on the Vietnam War, that of a peasant woman.
The free event will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Sanger Lecture Hall, located in Chatham University's Shadyside campus.
The event will open with a short documentary on Hayslip's life. A discussion follows, focusing on the author's non-profit work.
Le Ly Hayslip founded two charitable organizations: East Meets West Foundation and Global Village Foundation. They offer humanitarian and emergency support to the disadvantaged in Vietnam and other Asian nations.
Hayslip was born in 1949, in central Vietnam. During what the Vietnamese called "The American War," Hayslip and her friends worked as scouts for the Vietcong. She was eventually found out by the South Vietnamese, who captured, arrested and tortured her. They finally released her, but by then she had come under the suspicion of the Vietcong. At 14, two soldiers took her to the forest, threatened to kill her, and then raped her.
She moved to the U.S. in 1970, after marrying an American civilian contractor.
In When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, Lely Hayslip tells a side of the story seldom heard from journalists or historians. Her childhood memories are forever enveloped in the shadow of war. Her memoir offers the point of view of someone brought up in a village by the fault line between the north and south of Vietnam, with a history written by the constant tension between inconsistent allegiances.