I assume this must be some kind of DC-3 flying over a hill tribe village. I grabbed the photo off one of those web sites. Check out the houses. Have you ever seen houses in a hill tribe village lined up in rows?
Well they let the general out on bail, the repercussions of the coup plot are being felt far beyond California, perhaps most ominously with the 7,700 Hmong about to be deported from their safe haven in a Thai refugee camp.
Thailand and Laos are probably feeling very little pressure from the United States. President Bush and his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of Defence Gates have been cancelling meetings in Singaore, Africa, and Latin America as they try to salvage a middle east policy that goes from bad to worse, and is rapidly spinning out of control. The plight of some former comrades from our last failed war thirty years ago hardly seems worth lifting an eyebrow over.
Meanwhile in the land of plah dek and sticky rice tiny indicators of unease seem to be emerging over the past couple of weeks. It seems as if stepped up security issues on the western border with Thailand are finding their way into the Thai papers.
In one incident Laos detained seven Thai Army Rangers and one civilian over in Xaiyabuli Province. It seemed to take a couple of days before the Lao government even could confirm that it had apprehended the Thais, and then a couple more days to get them released. No doubt communications in neighbouring Nan province Thailand are more modern.
Xayabuli is the province where the Mekong doesn’t form a border but flows much further to the East inside of Laos proper. The actual border itself was in contention for a while in the 80s. This is the area where Hmong have been escaping to Thailand for years, or even perhaps returning to create mischief.
Bokeo Province, the next province north, opposite Chang Rai had it’s own activity the week before, busting a cabal of bomb plotters and conspirators. A few years ago Laos experienced quite a few small bombs, most of them not doing very much damage. In these days of massive truck bombs in Iraq blowing up a motorcycle hardly seems ominous. Arresting twenty suspects for feeding intelligence to dissidents abroad might well be nothing more sinister than having received a letter from a cousin in America.
Finally from an expat blog in Vientiane, all foreigners are being required to re register their names addresses, photo, visa, and so on. Shouldn’t they already have all this on file? He he he. I always assumed that all that ton of paper you have to fill out for visas and customs ends up collecting dust in some corner of the customs and foreign affairs department rotting away. Those new visas are actually a paste on type and I thought they were somehow computerized. maybe not. Notice lately they only require one photo?
Well here’s wishing the 7,700 Hmong get an easy return to Laos. It seems that with the millions of illegal economic immigrants we could find our way to granting a few thousand green cards to these folks.