Nationalism is Strange and Unnatural: A Graphic Essay by Thi Bui

Commissioned for PEN's State of Emergency

January 26, 2017  By Thi Bui

The following piece was commissioned as part of the Illustrated PENState of Emergency feature, intended to bring forward the voices and stories of communities whose concerns and lives may be most at risk under the new administration. Our hope is that the stories created for this series will help empower and inspire people to stand up and speak out and to begin to repair what’s been so thoroughly broken.


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Thi Bui
Thi Bui

Thi Bui was born in Vietnam three months before the end of the Vietnam War, and immigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1978. Her forthcoming graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do (Abrams, March 2017) has been selected as both an Indies Introduce and Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers title. She currently teaches in the MFA in Comics program at the California College of the Arts. She lives in Berkeley with her son, her husband and her mother.

  • René Roth

    with all your exploitation of the unfortunate death of a child for political gains you seem to have forgotten that the cause of death was not nationalism, but the father trying to get free dental services.

    • Khong Ten

      Rene Roth, you are a monster.

      • René Roth

        elaborate. I’m not the one exploiting dead children

        • psemophile

          Dude was trying to escape the war and save his children. I’m sorry, René but you are a monster.

          • René Roth

            For facing reality? Dude was not fleeing any war, he was going from Turkey (you know, where Europeans love to spend their holidays) to Germany. A child died, and now people are abusing that death for their own political gains.

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