On September 24th of this year, a segment on the Yellow Rain was aired by the NPR show Radiolab, and because of the controversy of the piece, the original audio file has been amended. Among it’s guests were Eng Yang, a Hmong veteran, survivor, and documenter of the Hmong genocide for the Thai government, and his neice, Kao Kalia Yang, an award winning Hmong American writer, who served as a translator for Eng. Radiolab’s primary objective was to investigate “a mysterious substance that fell from the sky”, that was believed to be a chemical weapon utilized during the Cold War. It was killing animals, crops, and people throughout the jungle of Laos. However, as the interview proceeded, the hosts and the other two guests, Matt Meselson and Thomas Seeley, both scientists, settled at the matter that it was bee defecation that was the main cause of the so-called “Yellow Rain”, not chemical weapons dropped off by enemy planes. As the interview with Eng continued, his story and first hand experience in the matter was callously questioned and, in the audio, one could even hear one of the hosts claim that Eng’s experience was “hearsay”. The interview abruptly ends with Kao Kalia sobbing, saying, “He [Eng] agreed to do this interview because you were interested. What happened to the Hmong happened, and the world has been uninterested for the last twenty years…..We can play the semantics game, we can, but I’m not interested, my uncle is not interested…. I, I think the interview is done.”
Legacies of War is very excited to announce “Voices From Laos: Clearing Bombs, Protecting Lives,” a groundbreaking national speakers tour. The tour will create a space for dialogue on how individuals and communities are affected by Vietnam War-era unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos, how the problem is being addressed in the country, and ways in which people in the U.S. can help to clear Laos of bombs, support survivors of accidents, and help to create a safer future for the people of Laos.
Funds raised will go to support Legacies’ long-term goals of a bomb-free Laos and also to support the nationwide Speakers Tour.
Not only will you be supporting the removal of U.S.-dropped bombs and healing the wounds of war, but you will also enjoy traditional Lao food!
Where: Berkeley, the home of Daniel & Hilary Goldstine
1838 San Juan Ave. Berkeley, CA
What: Reception, 30-50 seats reserved JUST FOR STUDENTS
When: April 7th, 6pm-9pm
Vietnam War’s Legacy Is Vivid as Clinton Visits Laos
VIENTIANE, Laos — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clintonmade a brief stop on her Asia tour on Wednesday in Laos, the first visit by an American secretary of state here in 57 years and one that brought into stark relief the enduring legacy of the Vietnam War.
At an artificial-limb center, Mrs. Clinton met a 19-year-old who lost his forearms and eyesight when a bomb, dropped by the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War and unexploded for decades, finally blew up three years ago.
The young man, Phongsavath Sonilya, gesticulated with his arm stumps as he explained to Mrs. Clinton that more than three decades after the end of the war, not enough had been done to stop the use of cluster bombs and to support those who may be injured in the future by bombs still lying unexploded in the countryside. The United States has not signed the Convention on Cluster Bombs.
The four-hour visit by Mrs. Clinton to Laos provided other reminders of the Vietnam War.
Read more via New York Times
Laos Entry 6- Shoes
Coming from an Asian heritage background I know to take off my shoes-one would think. But the house is filthy. Not literally, but it’s always crawling with little baby ants! That however bit as well! These ants are too small to capture with my regular camera, but I tell not a lie when I say they are everywhere. On the coffee table just a hand full, but always around! ON the floor, on the earting table, on the counter, in the sink, crawling in and out of the trash, in the car. Leave your food out for too long they will be crawling throught that too! I even found some in my bed the other day. That’s what I mean when I say filth. I stepped in an ant farm the other day on accident trying to take a picture of these flowers in the yar. Vefore I can even look down they were sawrming, crawling all over the right foot. I shook them off, put my foot down for a second for balance and immediately I was covered again. I could have cussed every little piece of gras growing in the yar, but I can to keep composure of they self.
Tish is why I wear thy shoes in and out of the house. Even in the bathroom, and while I shower. -___-
What is Hmong?
Hmong is a sub-ethnic group that originated in Tibet. We were a nomadic people who eventually settled in China. After rising political power, China felt that it’d be best to make the Hmong one with China, suppressing everything about us. Shamanism, our language and even our own culture. We resisted with force, eventually causing China to banish us into the mountains (which is why all Hmong movies are in the jungles). After years of war, China and it’s flourishing power killed off our King, and left our people crippled. We just wanted freedom and independence, but China wouldn’t let us. We were never able to establish our own country because of China’s suppression of our ways. After hundreds of years the Hmong wokred their way all around Asia, eventually settling in the Jungles of Thailand and Laos/Vietnam. This is around the beginning of the Vietnamese war. US Soldiers went into Vietnam, only to find that they didn’t know the jungle as well as the Viet Kong forces. They hired the Hmong people living in those very forests to train US soldiers and navigate them through the jungles. This is where General Vang Pao comes in; He was one of the best Generals, and received the highest Honor possible from the US government. After the US lost the communist war to Vietnam, they pulled out, leaving the Hmong to fight for themselves. Since the end of the war TO THIS VERY DAY; the Hmong are still hunted and slain by Communist Vietnamese Guerrillas. Why won’t the US government help? Because they don’t want to spend money to help us. They owe us everything, there is a genocide happening right now and us stupid little teenagers don’t even care. The US government says there’s no proof. General Vang Pao was fighting to prove our part in the war. Now he’s dead, and this will always be known as the “Secret War”.
To wait 15 years for deportation is devastating
On March 26, U.S. immigration officials showed up at my company and escorted a long time employee, Sua Kuangvanh, out of the building “to clear up some paperwork.” They then took him to the Polk County Jail where he is being held pending deportation back to Laos, his native country.
In 1996, over 15 years ago, Kuangvanh was convicted of a drug-related crime in Storm Lake. At the time of conviction, he was “removable and deportable,” but that never happened. Since then he has been a model alien citizen.
He has established a family, been a wonderful employee of mine for the past 11 years, paid his taxes and complied with all visiting alien paperwork requirements. He has held a passport, traveled in and out of the country and hasn’t had so much as a speeding ticket. He had just recently applied for U.S. citizenship.
I can understand a U.S. policy of deportation for certain crimes. But to wait for 15 years, during which an individual establishes a family, a place in the community and a life in general, and then to snatch it all away is inhumane and serves no useful purpose. Deportation will have a devastating effect on the immediate people involved, will serve no benefit to anyone and will deprive our community of an upstanding citizen and productive worker.
— Ted Stuart, Des Moines
Being Hmong means being Free
“We have changed from non-literate mountain farmers into fully capable citizens of the western world in the course of a single generation.”
—Lia Vang, the film’s 17-year old narrator
When the U.S. withdrew from the Vietnam War in 1975, approximately 120,000 Hmong were driven from their homeland in Laos by communist forces and forced to re-establish their lives elsewhere. Acknowledging the difficulties that have arisen from trying to follow their own traditions in a new country where the language barrier, limited employment opportunities, and xenophobia present everyday challenges, “Being Hmong Means Being Free” explores how dramatically life has changed for the Hmong in the space of a generation.
(video is an hour long)