a little laotian lesson

i’m not generally much of a history buff – it usually goes in one ear and out the other – but the little i’ve read about laotian history is both fascinating and profoundly sad. i’m borrowing heavily from the guidebook here, but the secret u.s. war in laos during the vietnam era was so incredibly devastating, and so little known. from 1964-1973, the u.s. flew an average of 177 planes per day, carrying payloads of more than 2 million tonnes of bombs, making laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in the history of warfare. not to mention the unknown number of landmines still remaining buried all over the country, creating untold victims every year. all this was of course, strategy by the u.s. to prevent the so called “domino effect” of communism. then several decades of puppet governments and manipulation of the ethnic minority population by the c.i.a. as guerrilla soldiers served to wreak further devastation. even years later, the ecomony is a joke (50 pounds sterling will get you almost a million kip) and all the lao educated classes have long since fled (amounting to almost 10% of the population).

and in the end, vietnam was lost and laos became a socialist state anyway. how bitterly ironic. read more about laos on the “where we are now” page.

2 Responses to “a little laotian lesson”

  1. k
    June 8th, 2006 20:08

    great photos and of course, great writings! looks like you two are truly making the best of your travels and as someone else wrote, you two are truly travellers, not tourists! it’s great to keep up with where you are and what you are doing. stay well.

  2. daddio
    June 9th, 2006 03:18

    hard to imagine such lovely people in the mist of such senseless slaughter. burn some incense at a temple, asking forgiveness for our current and past sins.

  • Photos