Hmong people of Laos

                     

   Many Hmong are being forced to relocate from their highland homes to                       areas with poor agricultural potential.

                  They were hunted as wild animals.

Little was known about the ethnic Hmong people, and even less about those rumoured to be fighting a low-level war against the Lao Government. But what seems certain, according to numerous human rights reports, is that many of the Hmong in Laos have a poor standard of living, and often feel marginalised by the authorities. And over the last 40 years these people were hunted like wild animals. In public the Lao government has always denied that the Hmong existed.

Now they are recognized but the Lao Government often accuses the Hmong of being the cause of the country’s problems, such as the high levels of deforestation and widespread cultivation of opium.

The problem stems from the Vietnam War, when large numbers of ethnic Hmong sided with the United States army, as the conflict spread from Vietnam into neighbouring Laos and Cambodia. The Hmongs became a Special Guerrilla Unit trained by the CIA and led by General Vang Pao. About 60% of the Hmong men in Laos were assisted by the CIA to join fighting for the “Secret War” in Laos. Between 1962 and 1975, some 12,000 Hmong also died fighting against Communist Pathet Lao troops.

The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong groups began a gradual southward migration in the 18th century due to political unrest and to find more arable land. A number of Hmong people fought against the communist-nationalist Pathet Lao during the Laotian Civil War. Hmong people were singled out for retribution when the Pathet Lao took over the Laotian government in 1975, and tens of thousands fled to Thailand seeking political asylum. Thousands of these refugees have resettled in Western countries since the late 1970s, mostly the United States but also Australia, France, French Guiana, and Canada. Others have been returned to Laos under United Nations-sponsored repatriation programs. Around 8,000 Hmong refugees remain in Thailand.

Genocide Victims Accused of Genocide.

                                                                        

GenocideVictimAccused  of Genocide

 
Philip Blenkinsop  
Hmong rebels in a remote part of Laos fall to their knees, under the misonception that visiting journalists from Time magazine are C.I.A. agents who have come to the rescue after decades of desperate waiting.

The government of Laos is accused of committing genocide against that country’s Hmong ethnic minority in a well-publicized exhibition scheduled to run from 17 January to 7 February 2004 at Sweden’s National Museum of History in Stockholm.

Entitled, ”Making Differences”, the exhibition is being presented as a ”cultural” complement to the Stockholm International Forum to be held during 26-28 January. That event is the fourth and last in series which has focused on genocide and related issues, all at the initiative of Prime Minister Göran Persson and financed by his government.

The stated theme of the final Forum is ”Preventing Genocide: Threats and Responsibilities”, and the relevance of the exhibition is explained as follows: ”It has been said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. . . . ’Making Differences’ will make sure that we do not forget.”

The featured component of the exhibition is a series of photographs purporting to depict the ”extermination” of the Hmong by the Lao government. They were taken in early 2003 by Australian photographer Philip Blenkinsop during a three-day visit to a small group of Hmong in northern Laos. The photos have previously been exhibited in other countries.

   

 

A house of love in a Akha village – Laos

A house of love in a Akha village – Laos

Akha people have a special tradition : young people, boys and girls, can have free sex with anyone they want. In the middle of the Akha village, there is this hut with 2 beds (yes, 2 beds!) where teenagers go at night and have sex. Once they have found the good lover, they can tell their families and the wedding takes place. If the girl is pregnant by accident, the boy has to marry her. i still do not understand how they can know who is the father as sexuality is so free…I’ve read that in some Philipino tribes, there is the same kind of tradition.
The problem nowadays is AIDS as those tribes access the big towns for trading and men can have sex with prostitutes…

Hmong house with a Do Not Enter sign – Laos

 

Hmong house with a Do Not Enter sign – Laos

The flower like sign in front of this Hmong house means “do not enter”. A shaman has came and has fought the bad spirits who where haunting the house, so only the onwers of the house can enter it for some days. On the left of the door, you can see a sword made with wood, to frighten the bad spirits…Hmong house are special: no window, only one door, and they are on the ground. Very different from Khmaus ones for example, open houses on stilts.

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