In light of the renewed anti-refugee hysteria in the US and elsewhere, I am reblogging this post I made back in September. This post includes a post I made back in 2013 about my experiences as a volunteer in a Laotian Refugee Camp in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand in 1980. I included photos from the camp so readers could get a sense of the life for the refugees.
Then something wonderful happened, former refugees or the children of former refugees began viewing the page. They also left comments and sometimes asked questions that I tried to answer. Read them and I think you’ll understand why the plight of refugees is so important to me. I am so glad I took the time out of my senior year in college to volunteer to work with the refugees.
Yes there are fears people have but they are based on faulty information and fueled by xenophobia and Islamaphobia. Before I spent time in Thailand I spent a year between 1977 & 1978 in Indonesia. I lived as a non-Muslim in a predominantly Muslim country. I never once felt threatened by the wonderful citizens of that great country. I am no fan of religion in general and fundamentalist religions in particular. We live in a country where we are free to believe in whatever religion, philosophy or creed as long as we don’t infringe on the rights of others. Any refugee who accepts that precept set forth at the founding of this nation should be welcome here.
I have been following the refugee crisis enveloping Europe with a heavy heart. You see I have some history with refugees. I’m 1980 I spent half a year working in a Laotian Refugee Camp in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand. The similarities to what is happening now are striking. The crisis then was something the United States was partially to blame for. During the Vietnam War Laos was caught up in its own civil war. The North Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao were fighting the Royal Lao Army which was assisted by US covert military forces, trained and supported by the CIA. When the war ended in 1975 with the Pathet Lao taking over Vientiane, Lao’s capital, the US left and the thousands of Hmong hill tribes people who worked with the CIA as well as lowland Laotian who had fought as proxy of the US in the Royal Lao Army, found…
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