A bit of Tangential, International News

Both articles below are at best, thinly related to this site’s purpose. However, I think they each merit a link and a read:

  • Thailand to keep on repatriating Hmong to Laos by Pracha Hariraksapitak:

    Thailand has no plans to halt its repatriation of ethnic Hmong to communist Laos despite appeals by U.S. Congressmen and the United Nations, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said on Monday.
    Thailand had not sent any Hmong, many of whom fought alongside the United States during the Vietnam War, back forcibly, he told reporters.
    We did not deport them. There have been repatriations as they hold the nationality of our neighbour. The process is under the care of third countries to ensure no human rights are violated after their return,’ Surayud said.
    Thailand’s policy was influenced partly by the burden of caring for Hmong who continued to cross over from Laos three decades after the end of the war, he said.

    Madison has a large Hmong community which was recently in the news over the naming of a new elementary school.

  • Former Wisconsin DPI Employee Madeline Uranek:

    In November 2006, I left my home in Madison, trading a wonderful, decently paid job with the state Department of Public Instruction for the opportunity to volunteer two years with the Peace Corps. I am posted in Lesotho, in southern Africa.
    Lesotho is a tiny country, about the size of Maryland, with a population of about two million. It is surrounded on all sides by South Africa, the continent’s richest country. The wealth of South Africa is a magnet for the men of Lesotho, who travel there to work in diamond and copper mines, and for Lesotho’s handful of professionals, who go to be teachers, lawyers, nurses and electrical engineers. But most women venture no further than the nearest grimy camp town, and most children have never left their village.
    I sense desolation in the tired red soil, the wispy corn plants, marching in bedraggled rows like defeated soldiers. Yet the beauty of this country is breathtaking, and it comes in 360-degree vistas. I can stand in any high place and see ranges upon ranges of mountains in all directions, vast open valleys through which a river trickles.
    In Madison, it is summer, lush and green. In Lesotho, it is winter, brown and windy. Before the missionaries and Boer settlers came, the Basotho people wore animal skins to keep warm. Now they wear beautiful blankets, whose designs are based on English mill weavings of the mid-1800s, evolved over the decades since to be uniquely Basotho. The blankets come in patterns dominated by a single color, and have intriguing names meaning, for example, blanket of royalty, heart of the chief, or thigh of a woman in labor.