In the discussion thread: Falkland Islands to hold referendum on sovereignty [View all]
Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)
Tue Jun 12, 2012, 09:03 AM
grantcart (41,344 posts)
7. A lilttle Falkland Island's story
Thirty years ago I was Chief of Operations for the largest organized resettlement of refugees since WWII.
Vietnamese, Vietnamese of Chinese descent, Laotians, Cambodians were all being moved at more than 15,000 a month. One full time 747 made 13 roundtrips a month and thousands of individual flights took groups from 15 to 100 every day. I had negotiated with the Thais to turn the old fire station into our own refugee terminal.
It was unusual to handle an individual case but there were some and they were the most interesting. A couple where the husband's leprosy had turned him to an odd shade of purple and his stunningly beautiful wife, who happened to be blind were an example. We had to provide rooms for them to be kept at each stage of their flight because they attracted such crowds of gawkers.
And then there was this one family. They had only one relative outside of Vietnam. On a small island I had never heard of in the Atlantic. It turned out to be the most difficult non medical case we ever moved. It was a group of about 18 and we had to get transit visas for the US, Mexico, Argentina and there was only a weekly flight out of Buenas Aires.
Now to understand the great irony of this you have to understand that Vietnam has been at almost constant war for the last century and off and on for about 10 centuries. There was pre war independence action against the French, fighting the Japanese, post war fighting the French, Civil War between the North and the South, and after reunification China invaded Vietnam (also known as the Third Indochina War) one more time on a kind of a nostalgic tour of 1000 years of war with Vietnam.
So sending this one extended family to this one remote island that no one had ever heard of seemed to atleast make sure that they never saw conflict again. On April 11th they would arrive in their new home in the Falklands.
Coming to work on April 12th I was astonished to see that Argentina had decided to liberate the Las Malvinas Islands known elsewhere as the Falklands.
The Thais had an interesting take on the whole episode. They concluded that it was this partiuclar family that was the source of all of Vietnam's bad luck and eternal war making and now that they were gone Vietnam would finally find peace. Since that day Vietnam has not been invaded again.
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A lilttle Falkland Island's story
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