Why Hmong Sued Hmong in Court
Dr. Christopher T. Vang
The echo is still there, and more and more people are getting frustrated with the misleading information coming out of this lawsuit through the Hmong social media reporters who are not acting impartially to disseminate the information to the general public. Instead, some Hmong social media reporters are taking side to report stories that are incorrect based on unilateral and false information.
Over the last several months, I have received so many phone calls and emails from my listeners around the world about the lawsuit in Fresno. Nearly everyone asked me the same questions: Why Hmong have to sue Hmong? And Why Hmong leaders cannot resolve this conflict?
First of all, nowadays, filing lawsuit is quite popular because Hmong Americans are self-sufficient and are getting used to the western philosophy of individualism. They are fighting for their freedom and justice in court, and that is perfectly permissible by law.
Second, let’s try to answer these questions without taking side. Keep in mind that no one knows all the correct answers to every single questions, but let’s do the very best we can to help the general public understand all issues at hand.
Here is our take on the first question. Sometimes, there is no cultural remedy to a prolong problem if people cannot stop their own heartache, internal bleeding, and hatred toward one another. For some, a living problem is like a living cancer, and a living heartache is like a recurring episode of brain seizure. Just like letting someone drown in the river is better than saving someone’s life. In other words, people have to learn how to live this current life with imperfection in heart if they want to see peace around them. Without practicing these two words—forgetting and forgiveness, Hmong people will not repent their sinful actions. So, if there is no remedy to an everlasting problem between two people or two groups, and because they cannot forget or forgive each other, then the best way is to settle in court.
Suing someone is not always the best way to resolve conflict or problem, but sometimes, suing brings respect to both sides. Most importantly, suing allows both sides to tell the truth in court, and if anyone lies in court, the judge can hold him or her accountable for perjury, contempt of the court, and obstruction of justice. Yet, suing allows people to change the way they do business, especially for such cases like bribery, racketeering, corruption, illegal dealings, and crime against humanity.
Having said that, in this case, the two groups cannot settle their differences because one group has covered up its own misdeeds for so long and the other group has been taking the time to dig out these misdeeds from the grave. In other words, the dispute has turned into a firestorm between them. Therefore, filing a lawsuit is to the right way to put out the fire. Otherwise, both sides are living with a time bomb in their hearts, and it can detonate anytime.
In addition, suing, in most cases, involves money, corruption, jealousy, social envy, bribe, dishonesty, disrespect, injury, breach of duty, and injustice. In order to bring justice to both sides, going to court is the right thing to do because there is little chance that both sides can settle problems out of court without the law. In other words, the court can issue order or ruling to both sides to help heal their wounds even if these court decisions are imperfect. Lastly, suing should help both sides learn how to behave responsibly next time, and perhaps, legal litigation helps both sides remedy potential conflicts. Lastly, suing should be the very last resort.
Now let’s turn the page to answer question number two. Right now, Hmong Americans have no national leader, and ever since the death of General Vang Pao, Hmong Americans have not been able to establish Hmong leaders and leadership. Even General Vang Pao encouraged Hmong people to do so, they continue to flounder. Also, NO ONE seems to care about General Vang Pao’s encouraging messages to show unconditional love for one another. For that, most Hmong Americans do not depend on Hmong leaders to solve and resolve their problems anymore. In other words, their Americanized attitudes determine how they live their lives, and it is not like the old days when General Vang Pao was still alive anymore.
Moreover, there are plenty followers who claim to be Hmong leaders; however, no one has a kind-good heart to be honest about dealing with Hmong problems. These leaders belong to factions, cliques, groups, clubs, and familial associations. No current Hmong leader can speak on Hmong behalf as did General Vang Pao for 67 years before his death. Most only protect what is best for their groups or families, and no one seems to care for the whole Hmong community anymore; however, without the Hmong community these groups cannot survive socioeconomically.
Yet most current Hmong leaders lack adequate knowledge and skills to deal with western issues and problems. Looking at all issues at hand in this case, the complexity is so real. One group signed an agreement with two other groups to consolidate the annual celebration and concealed the agreement for years without sharing with anyone, including General Vang Pao. On the other hand, the second group has been kept out of the celebration for years because of cover up and secret dealings among some leaders who were in charge. In other words, these leaders tried to bury their own secrets alive, and unfortunately, the living dead finally find a way to come back to haunt them years later.
The bottom line is that Hmong leaders cannot usually solve Hmong leaders’ problems. In real life, Hmong leaders solve civil matters for civilians, but when it comes to leader against leader, Hmong leaders cannot solve their own problems because they are afraid to lose face. In other words, admitting guilt is like taking a death sentence, and issuing an apology is like admitting guilt. So they lie low to get away, unless otherwise, they can resolve conflicts through penalty, bribe, cover up, corruption, or abandonment. Perhaps, Hmong leaders feel they are too perfectly good to discuss or to face personal problems, so the only way to do is to hide problems until someone can smell the rotten rat from its carcass.
As for this case, the proclaiming self-made leaders cannot see themselves as leaders anymore, but they can only think about greed, corruption, manipulation, fool, cover up, and distortion. That is why Hmong leaders in this case are incompetent individuals who refuse to take personal responsibility to do the right thing for the greater good of the people—telling the truth and move on. At the very least, they can issue a public apology saying, “I am truly sorry for my action, or I am truly sorry for misleading the public for many years” to earn more respect from the people. This is western way of life—imperfect but responsible for personal actions in order to redeem the lost soul and spirits as the result of one’s diabolical sins and debacle.
Hopefully, these answers are relevant to the nature of the two questions asked by these listeners. Keep in mind that everyone is created equal under the law, and no one is above the law. To help all of us live a better life, we must learn how to forget and forgive one another. Remember, one word that would free all of us from problems is “LOVE”—it is cheaper than filing a lawsuit—it is FREE of charge.