Connect to share and comment

A guide to the dynamic economics, politics, and culture of the world's most populous region.

Hmong plight drives French colonel to suicide

"I spit my blood and my contempt in your face."
Thai winn hmong 2011 02 11Enlarge
A Hmong war veteran shows his medals at the start of the funeral of Gen, Vang Pao in California on February 4, 2010. (Mark Ralston)

"After a long period of disappointment, I have decided to play my final card, or more precisely my final bullet."

So reads a suicide note left behind an 86-year-old French colonel who shot himself in October, according to the BBC.

The aging colonel fought with the Hmong hill tribe, recruited by French colonial forces in the 1940s and 1950s. Known for their fighting prowess and resistance to central rule, the Hmong were later secretly recruited by U.S. intelligence officers to resist an ultimately victorious communist insurgency in tiny, landlocked Laos.

The Hmong, many of whom relocated to the U.S., have been marginalized and mistreated ever since.

The French outlet Ouest France has only recently posted Jambon's suicide note.

According to a BBC translation, he was motivated by a desire to express "shame and to protest against the cowardly indifference of our officials in the face of the terrible misfortune that is hitting our friends in Laos."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/hmong-plight-drives-french-colonel-suicide