Vang Pao controversy continues

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Jack_Yang
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Postby Jack_Yang » Tue May 01, 2007 3:16 pm

Further discussion on this issue:

After reading Madison school board member Carol Carstensen and Professor Alfred McCoy’s quickly pointed out articles and PDF file in the Daily Isthmus, I felt ashamed that the outsiders were quickly to smear and disparage of a good person’s name as Former General Vang Pao.

Many times, we see things with our own eyes, we cannot even trust ourselves; and for only to what we heard of someone else saying shall not be quickly judged. As an alive person myself, I have lived inside Longcheng, through the secret war of Vietnam and years in the jungle, until April of 1978, to escape to Thailand. I had not seen or heard of an Opium Lab. However, Laos was a country who grew poppies at the time, and there were many avenues to exchange hands, except that there was no Opium Lab in Longcheng. On my way to freedom, I have encountered starvation, ate tree roots and skins, drank from pot that catcher rain and has small alive worm like inside the water, and drank from punch hole into banana trees for its secretion watery like.

My journey to Thailand was only having a single pant and shirt that covered my body, for months, hidden in the deep dense forest and walked through many valleys, plateaus, rocks and mountains. By the time, I reached Thailand with my dad and youngest brother (my sister, brother and mom were catcher by the communist regime); my pant and shirt filled with tics and ripped into pieces. As for the only reason that my family and I escaped to Thailand after years, fighting in the jungle was to follow General Vang Pao, for Freedom. I came to the United Stated in November 1979, and started school in 6th grade, and as a 1991 graduated of double majors within the UW System in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics with emphasis in Statistics.

Followings are what I saw the life of former General Vang Pao with my own eyes and as a first hand encountered:

1. Former General Vang Pao was under took us Hmong people to a new direction, a new dimension, and a new freedom. He has made all the Hmong people as who we are today. Just years, before former General Vang Pao became his post, we Hmong people who walked and/or traveled down the streets and city places would have to bow to any Lao person that came onto his/her path. Hmong people had to kneel down and bow to any of the lowland Lao, and if the Hmong people would to enter any of the Lao’s house or any official place would have to kneel him/herself down from the doorway to the place where he/she can talk to the official or the Lao person. Whenever a Lao person gets up and/or stands to walk, the Hmong person would kneel down and bow his/her head low until the Lao person has passed by. Our former General Vang Pao have made the Hmong’s dream come true and then the Hmong people would equal to the Lao people, such that the Hmong people would not have to bow or kneel down for any Lao passer and/or kneel down from the door all the ways to the place where needs to be seat. To the Hmong people, former General Vang Pao is similarity to our great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose dream was to achieve the rights of equal and equality to his people. As you can see that, the former General Vang Pao has done goods to humanity, to his people, and to all the minority groups in Laos to have equal opportunity, equality, basic rights to all minority men and women. This only achievement would have been very beneficial for us to name the school after the Former General Vang Pao. However, there were/are more to his fame, name, and as a person.

2. Former General Vang Pao, who is prided highly on education, has sent many Hmong students studies abroad back in Laos, and the many educated students inside Laos school system. Before former General Vang Pao came to his post, schools were about one to two days walked and they were only for the riches and lowland Lao people. Many of our parents did not have access to educationâ€â€

Jack_Yang
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Postby Jack_Yang » Tue May 01, 2007 3:52 pm

in regard to Professor Kaplan, because the issue came on this discussion, here is my opinion.

Dear Editor:

As a Hmong man, when I heard of the telling statements from the students and read the news from the media, it was most painful and hurtful, dipping into my heart and mind. I too, personally believe very strongly that the alleged statements Professor Leonard Kaplan made during his February 15 lecture were racist and constitute hate speech against Hmong people. If what Professor Kaplan had said were a mistake, as he has said, he would not have asked whether or not there were any Hmong student(s) in the class. He even asked first, if any students were from Steven Point, Wisconsin or from Northern Wisconsinâ€â€

Woe Now
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Postby Woe Now » Tue May 01, 2007 8:16 pm

Hint from reality...

Just name the fucking school.

We pay for it and you name it, that's the deal. We have or will pay for it. Thats the hard part. All you have to do is name it and you haven't figured out a way to do that.

Get on with it.


-Tax payers of Madison

barbieolson
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Vang Pao's record

Postby barbieolson » Fri May 04, 2007 9:46 pm

Everyone concerned with this issue should read the following articles (NOT by Dr. Alfred McCoy by the way):

Star Tribune Covert Wars Story
http://www.air-america.org/newspaper_ar ... ng_Pao.pdf

Star Tribune Shakedown story
http://www.startribune.com/dynamic/mobi ... ry=5488982

So, let me get this straight, my kid can't bring his own soccer ball to school because it violates something called the rules of the "peaceful playground", but our school board is going to name an elementary school after this guy...what are they going to tell the little kiddies??? And doesn't it seem a little wierd to be glorifying our past CIA-military-industrial complex quagmires before we have even extricated ourselves from the most recent one? I'm sorry that the local Hmong can't come up with a more deserving candidate, but that doesn't mean we need to go with this one. If the Madison Jewish Community Council decides they'd like a school named after Ariel Sharon, will we go with that? Hey, there are alot of Serbs in Milwaukee -- shall we see if they'd like one named after Slobodan Milosevic? The possibilities are endless.

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Postby Violet_Skye » Sat May 05, 2007 12:14 am

So, the kids grow up and learn that the namesake of their school was a controversial leader, just like Reagan, Jefferson, and others that schools are named after. They also learn that the Hmong people in our community feel strongly that he is worthy of being so honored, for ensuring their survival, freedom and respect as human beings.

For myself, as the parent of two intelligent and aware young adults, I would have been proud to send them to a so-named school, and welcomed the discussions that would ensue. Jack Yang's compelling words on the topic settle it for me. We've had schools in Madison named after Malcolm X., another controversial figure, and somehow the sky didn't fall and chaos did not ensue.

Honor this community's Hmong citizens by honoring whom they honor.

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Postby BobArctor » Sat May 05, 2007 3:43 pm

Image

These will be on sale within the week.
The catalog site is still being programmed.

barbieolson
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Postby barbieolson » Sat May 05, 2007 4:57 pm

Violet_Skye wrote:So, the kids grow up and learn that the namesake of their school was a controversial leader, just like Reagan, Jefferson, and others that schools are named after. They also learn that the Hmong people in our community feel strongly that he is worthy of being so honored, for ensuring their survival, freedom and respect as human beings.

For myself, as the parent of two intelligent and aware young adults, I would have been proud to send them to a so-named school, and welcomed the discussions that would ensue. Jack Yang's compelling words on the topic settle it for me. We've had schools in Madison named after Malcolm X., another controversial figure, and somehow the sky didn't fall and chaos did not ensue.

Honor this community's Hmong citizens by honoring whom they honor.


Sorry, but Vang Pao goes way beyond "controversial" to places that we don't want to go...did you bother to read the exposes from the Star Tribune? And this is an ELEMENTARY school we're talking about, there aren't going to be any "discussions" about any of this, it can only be a whitewash of the true record.

Vang Pao played a critical role in getting the Hmong into their present situation by what he did in the Vietnam War...all that he has "ensured" is that most are far worse off now than they would have been had he not thrown in his lot with the bloody escapades of the French colonialists and the U.S. CIA in the first place. Vang Pao is not universally admired by all Hmong, many resent him taking money for years from their parents and grandparents in return for "certificates" promising them military and civil positions of authority in Laos after he goes back to "liberate" it. Again, read the Tribune articles.

We could do something concrete (as opposed to symbolic) for the Hmong and all other poor folks in this country if we stopped glorifying militarism and paying for endless wars and illegal adventures overseas and put that money into schools, health care, elder care, social services, community centers, etc. If we had spent a fraction of the money we poured down the rat hole of illegal war in Laos (a substantial portion of which passed through Vang Pao's pockets) on humanitarian needs there, we wouldn't be having this argument.

We owe the Hmong (not to mention the Laotians and Vietnamese) alot for having screwed up their lives, but we aren't interested in and can't afford to do anything real about it because we're too busy barreling down the same path in Iraq and elsewhere. But then, as someone else said, we can always "honor" millions of future Iraqi refugees by naming a school after Ahmed Chalabi. (That is, IF and WHEN we decide to overcome our racism toward Arabs and admit more than 200 of them.)

And by the way, just try naming a school in Madison after Ronald Reagan (or someone like William Westmoreland for example) and see what happens. Alternatively, you could name a school in Deforest after Vang Pao or the militarist of your choice.

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Postby Violet_Skye » Sun May 06, 2007 12:33 am

Dear Barbie:

A) He's not "MY" choice. He is the choice of many Hmong people, and it is their choice that I choose to honor, because I trust them to know who they admire and who they don't. Unlike some people.

B) There are many schools across America named after Ronald Reagan. I am not saying I am for that, either. I am saying, if you read my post again carefully after wiping the foam from your mouth, is that if we are going to allow that, then we should not be hypocrites and disallow this.

C) I know it's an elementary school, thanks. Yes, believe it or not, some people's kids are mature, curious and aware enough to discuss world leaders while still in elementary school, to the level of their ability. George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. ring any bells? Of course they would discuss the namesake of their school, in school and out. The discussion would be geared to their level of understanding, naturally. To assume any discussion would automatically be a whitewashing is a little knee-jerkish, isn't it?

D) Again, I say, let the Hmong decide on their own heroes. In Madison, DeForest, or wherever. I get the feeling you wouldn't be satisfied unless all decisions were made by YOU personally, because YOU know best what's good for everyone.

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Postby lukpac » Sun May 06, 2007 8:59 am

Violet_Skye wrote:B) There are many schools across America named after Ronald Reagan. I am not saying I am for that, either. I am saying, if you read my post again carefully after wiping the foam from your mouth, is that if we are going to allow that, then we should not be hypocrites and disallow this.


Who is "we"? Would Reagan Elementary fly in Madison? I doubt it. Or even Washington, if the vote was today?

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Postby Violet_Skye » Sun May 06, 2007 6:11 pm

lukpac wrote:
Violet_Skye wrote:B) There are many schools across America named after Ronald Reagan. I am not saying I am for that, either. I am saying, if you read my post again carefully after wiping the foam from your mouth, is that if we are going to allow that, then we should not be hypocrites and disallow this.


Who is "we"? Would Reagan Elementary fly in Madison? I doubt it. Or even Washington, if the vote was today?


Fair enough. But we have named at least one school here after Malcolm X., another very controversial political figure.

My main point is that if the goal is being inclusive towards Hmong immigrants here by naming a school for someone they revere, and the majority of the Hmong in Madison want Vang Pao so honored for saving their lives, we should respect their choice.

Are the Hmong going to be able to tell the non-Hmong not to name schools after Jefferson because he's controversial, too?

I just have a problem with saying ok for me to decide who my heroes are, but not ok for you to decide who yours are...

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Postby lukpac » Sun May 06, 2007 6:30 pm

Violet_Skye wrote:Are the Hmong going to be able to tell the non-Hmong not to name schools after Jefferson because he's controversial, too?


I have a feeling plenty of non-Hmong would speak up against that today anyway, but yes, why not?

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Postby Dodge » Mon May 07, 2007 11:02 am

lukpac wrote:
Violet_Skye wrote:Are the Hmong going to be able to tell the non-Hmong not to name schools after Jefferson because he's controversial, too?


I have a feeling plenty of non-Hmong would speak up against that today anyway, but yes, why not?


Let's rename it after Thomas Paine . . .

And while we're at it . . . let's bring back Madison's old name . . . Four Lakes, Wisconsin . . .

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Postby Violet_Skye » Mon May 07, 2007 2:22 pm

lukpac wrote:
Violet_Skye wrote:Are the Hmong going to be able to tell the non-Hmong not to name schools after Jefferson because he's controversial, too?


I have a feeling plenty of non-Hmong would speak up against that today anyway, but yes, why not?


What I meant was, would their opposition to it have any effect on the final outcome, votewise, being such a small minority of the population? Doubtful. Versus the non-Hmong (majority) vote on this issue? Substantial.

I think Memorial's middle school is still named Jefferson, if I'm not mistaken...

I am just concerned with truly respecting the opinions and experiences of the Hmong majority. If it's Vang Pao, or someone else, is not so important to me. If someone saved my life, and uplifted my persecuted ethnic group, that would be a pretty powerful incentive to feel that he's worthy of a good amount of honor.

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Postby missmadtown » Mon May 07, 2007 6:38 pm

Violet_Skye wrote: ... Are the Hmong going to be able to tell the non-Hmong not to name schools after Jefferson because he's controversial, too?.....What I meant was, would their opposition to it have any effect on the final outcome, votewise, being such a small minority of the population? Doubtful. Versus the non-Hmong (majority) vote on this issue? Substantial....I just have a problem with saying ok for me to decide who my heroes are, but not ok for you to decide who yours are...

I think Memorial's middle school is still named Jefferson, if I'm not mistaken...


I have no clue where you are going with this majority vs minority thing... The Hmong make up about 1.1% of Madison's population by a recent count. Some percentage of that number wants a Madison school named for Vang Pao. The school board gave them what they want one full week before the input cut-off date that had been publicized. They disenfranchised the majority to cater to a very tiny minority... That is what you want, right?

Anyway, if I'm not mistaken, Thomas Jefferson was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, our country of citizenship. He has been revered as one of our great presidents. I assume the controversies to which you refer are his ambivalence toward slavery, and that he fathered children with one of his slaves. Still, the allegation that he "raped" Sally Heming (or anyone else), cannot be proven and is weakened by the fact that she was very well provided for by Jefferson, and she was at his side when he died.

Our culture has evolved (they say) in the 200 years since Jefferson became president and we no longer tolerate some things that were (unfortunately) commonplace then. The things Vang Pao is accused of (and that are well-substantiated) have been done in the recent past, and some are still going on.

It seems appropriate for the Hmong who respect Vang Pao to name their children or their business after him. It does not seem appropriate for them to demand that we name a Madison public school after him.

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Postby david cohen » Mon May 07, 2007 11:24 pm

I think what troubles me the most about this whole dispute is that the abuses of Vang Pao are NOT well substantiated. Well publicized, yes, but not well substantiated. I'll take first person, eye witness testimony over an academic's research anyday...but that's just me.

Anyone watch the Board of Education meeting this evening? America hasn't healed from the Vietnam conflict, and all of this emanates from that era. Madison needs to heal, the Hmong community needs to heal, America needs to heal.


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