Saturday, May 17, 2008

Reason #10 To Fly A Peace Globe ~ Laos and The Plight Of The Hmong

There are more than thirty ongoing violent conflicts waging right now around the globe. The United Nations defines Major Wars as military conflict inflicting 1,000 battlefield deaths per year. Wikipedia expands that definition to include wars that cause destruction and humanitarian crisis of outstanding severity." Ongoing civil wars fueled by racial, ethnic, or religious differences come with a new twist that distinguishes them from wars in previous generations - civilian casualties. During World War I non-combatants made up less than 5% of casualties. Today, the number is a staggering 75% civilians killed or wounded.
Less than thirty days from now we will engage in another BlogBlast For Peace. By my research and estimation, there are at LEAST 30 very good reasons to fly a peace globe. To begin your activism. To increase our awareness of the suffering of others. To talk about peace. To write about peace. To be part of a larger voice for peace. To invoke peace. To pray for peace. To focus on peace.
To wage peace.

Need a reason to fly a globe?
Here's Reason #10

Began in 1975 when the Communist Pathet Lao took over the government, instituting a socialist regime. It is one of the few one-party Communist states remaining in the world

Where? Laos in Southeast Asia located between Vietnam and Thailand (borders Cambodia, China & Burma/Myanmar). Imagine a country with no railroads, limited telecommunications, a poor road system where agriculture (mainly rice production) provides 80% of the total employment. The life expectancy is 56 years. Out of 42 airports, only 9 have paved runways.
Who is fighting?
More fleeing than fighting. The Laos Peoples Army in an ongoing persecution of the Hmong people - a deliberate destruction and extermination of the remaining Hmong refugees.
Attempting to flee the genocide, thousands were relocated in Western countries including the United States (200,000), Australia, France, French Guinana and Canada. There are still 8,000 refugees in Thailand today after a mass exodus of 300,000 people. Those who did not leave were captured and held as political prisoners.

IMAGINE: Several thousand families escaped to the highest mountainous regions of the country, finally forced to defend themselves against those hunting them down, the government staged aerial bombings to root them out. They have also - reportedly - employed the use of chemical weapons.

WHY? Because the Hmong people fought against the Pathet Lao -the communist regime - during The Secret War

(the Laotian Civil War 1962-1975) which was organized by the American CIA in support of the Vietnam War. It was a covert operation that enlisted the help of those inside the country in an effort to keep communism out of Laos. When the communists came to power, they began to systematically attempt to wipe out the remaining members of this Asian ethnic group who had fought secretly alongside and assisted the Americans, as retribution for their stand against the government.

What is their crime? Siding with the Americans in the face of communism.
Today: Most Hmong people reportedly live peacefully in small villages in Laos. However, there is still a small fragment of 2nd and 3rd generation CIA soldiers who remain in hiding with their families. The communist government in Laos considers them "bandits". Forced to live a nomadic lifestyle, the women and children are often injured or killed (attacked by their own government) when attempts are made to come out into the jungle and search for food. In recent years, Human Rights groups have condemned the systematic genocide of these people. It is estimated that approximately 5,000 people still reside in the mountainous jungles of northern Laos.
Read this heartbreaking article. Here's another account.

The Vietnam War ended in 1973 and the troops went home.

It did not end for these people.

It still has not ended for these people.

Photo:Tomas Van Houtryve/The International Herald Tribune Do they look dangerous to you?

Come on. Join the Revolution

How To Get Your Peace Globe
Images: Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0


Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

Another great post. I knew that a lot was still going on from that time but I had no idea how much. You are doing us all such a service by doing there posts! Thanks...

Patti said...

Yes, another great job Mimi. These things are so difficult for us who have never experienced them to imagine.

To answer your question, the people in the photo don't look dangerous at all.

Mimi Lenox said...

Bud - I couldn't believe what I was reading.Can you imagine such a thing?

Patti - No, they do not look dangerous. But they do look very much like regular human beings who deserve so much more out of life. Especially the children.

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