Hmong, Laos Community in California, Veterans Honor Tragic Mountains Author
The events by the Hmong, Laos community will honor author and human rights activist Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt and commemorate the 15th anniversary of the publication of her book Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americas and the Secret Wars for Laos (Indiana University Press).
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C. and Fresno, California, December 26, 2008 - Thousands of Hmong and Laotian community members from California and across the United States are slated to gather in Fresno for special ceremonies on December 27, 2008, at the Hmong and Lao veterans monument at Fresno County Courthouse Park and the Hmong New Year at Fresno Fairgrounds. The events will honor author and human rights activist Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt and commemorate the 15th anniversary of the publication of her book Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americas and the Secret Wars for Laos ( Indiana University Press ). http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=21032
Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for her coverage of the Vietnam War, and in 1998 for the Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of her long-standing humanitarian, refugee and human rights efforts on behalf of the Hmong people of Laos.
Indiana University Press stated further: “Abandoned by the United States when it withdrew in 1975, the Hmong have been subjected to a campaign of genocide by communist Laos and Vietnam. Tragic Mountains is a story of courage, tenacity, brutality, secrecy, incredible heroism—by Hmong and Americans alike—international cynicism, betrayal, genocide, resilience, and still, hope.”
The Lao Veterans of America ( LVA ), Lao Veterans of America Institute ( LVAI ), the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ), Lao Hmong community and non-profit leaders will cosponsor and participate in ceremonies to honor Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt. She will be honored for her humanitarian, human rights and refugee work on behalf of the Hmong and Laotian people as well as her authorship of Tragic Mountains. The highly acclaimed and pioneering book provides a history of the Hmong people and Laos during the Vietnam War, and its aftermath.
“( At our ).. annual celebration… we will recognize our fallen soldiers, their families, and honor Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt,” said Lt. Colonel Wangyee Vang, Founder and National President of the Lao Veterans of America. “Dr. Hamilton-Merritt was a Nobel Prize nominee… the 15th anniversary of her book 'Tragic Mountains' which details the Lao-Hmong contribution during the Vietnam War, will be acknowledge.”
A veterans and commemoration ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 27, 2008, from 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M., at the Hmong and Lao Veterans Monument at the Fresno County Courthouse Park, Fresno, California. The ceremony will honor the veterans as well as Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt and the 15th Anniversary of the publication of her book Tragic Mountains which details the history of the Lao and Hmong veterans and their American advisors who served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
The Hmong and Lao veterans ceremony will be held at the site of the fourteen ton marble and bronze monument depicting heroic Hmong and Lao veterans coming to the aid of a downed American flyer in Laos was dedicated in Fresno's Courthouse Park in 2005. The 6-foot bronze statue depicts two Lao Hmong soldiers rescuing a wounded American pilot honors thousands of Hmong guerrilla fighters enlisted by the CIA during the Vietnam War. Many fighters settled in the Central Valley after the war, and today Fresno is home to one of the largest Hmong populations outside of Laos.
Following the events at the Fresno Courthouse Park monument to the Hmong and Lao veterans, a special evening commemoration ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 27, 2008, from 6:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M., at the Fresno County Fairgrounds, Fresno, California. The ceremony will honor Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt and the 15th Anniversary of the publication of her book Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans and the Secret Wars for Laos.
Tens of thousands of Hmong and Laotian Americans are expected to attend the Hmong New Year ceremonies in Fresno, California, which are sponsored by the Hmong International New Year Inc. in cooperation with other non-profit organizations and officials.
“Many in the Hmong and Lao community in California and across the United States will be gathering in Fresno to celebrate the Hmong New Year and mark the 15th anniversary of the publication of Tragic Mountains and Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt’s crucial and historic human rights and humanitarian work on behalf of the refugees in Thailand and Laos,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA in Washington, D.C. "Dr. Jane Hamilton Merritt's book and her important work have helped to save the lives of many thousands of Hmong and Laotian refugees over the years, and recently; She has helped to bring long overdue honor, dignity and understanding regarding the plight of these people and their important role in support of U.S. national security interests during the Vietnam War and its aftermath."
Tragic Mountains was first released by the Hmong-American community and the Lao Veterans of America at the Hmong New Year in Fresno, California during the 1993-94 Hmong New Year event. Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt was invited as an honored guest and keynote speaker. http://www.tragicmountains.org
Currently, some 7,000 Hmong and Laotian refugees are in imminent danger of forced repatriation from Thailand back to the oppressive, one-party communist regime in Laos which they fled. The Lao Hmong refugees are being detained at Nong Khai and Ban Huay Nam Khao, Petchabun Province, Thailand.
Thousands of unarmed Hmong and Laotian civilians and minority political and religious dissident groups are under intense military and security force attack in Laos. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, the United National High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR ), Doctors Without Borders ( MSF ) and other independent human rights and humanitarian organizations have issued urgent action appeals about the plight of the Hmong and Laotian refugees and current human rights crisis.
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This story was released on 2008-12-27. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.