Hmong refugees traveling to the United States – Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-09-17 13:33:46 –

“I often have flashbacks of Bambinai refugee camps. Established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to accommodate Hmong and Lao refugees after the end of the US Secret War in Laos in 1975. It was one of the camps. Ban Vinai was in Thailand but was not considered a national space in Thailand. I was not a Thai citizen. Ban Vinai was an uncertain space, but in 1992 It disappeared on the map because it was closed in the year. I was born in this uninhabited area for Hmong refugees who fled the unjustified war in Laos initiated by the United States in the 1960s.

Tens of thousands of Hmong made the ultimate sacrifice of becoming US surrogate soldiers during the Vietnam War, but even today many Americans have left the story of the Secret War and it to my generation. I don’t know the scratches.

My parents, Blia Chang and Tou Houa Pha, settled in the United States in their early twenties with three little boys. I remember the frozen fog that stabbed my soft face when I stumbled from an airplane. The fact that my tired feet touched the cold snow meant that I finally landed on the map for the first time. My new home was in the city of Appleton, Wisconsin.

Still, life in America has never been easier. I was bullied by white children and punished by my teacher for speaking my native Hmong language. As I grew older, layers of identity, such as the poor and strange, began to shape my experience as an American refugee of the Hmong. Still, my family never shook the hope that violence could be transformed into a meaningful life in this strange land.

Refugees are often unacceptable as Americans. The myths surrounding refugees shape the opinion of many Americans who do not understand why those fleeing war-torn countries now call the United States their hometown. Hmong refugees are among the millions of refugees around the world looking for a place to accept and belong.

Hmong refugees crossed brutal borders and crossed multiple seas without knowing what would happen to life in the United States. As I travel through this world, I tell the story of my ancestors and elders. We are fully aware that being an American Hmong refugee cannot completely escape the feeling of being in an eternal twilight zone. “

Dr. Kong Fenfa

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