The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
The film’s official website provides links to additional information about the film, bios of the filmmakers, photos and a list of screenings.
The New York Times: Refugees’ Tale Took 23 Years to Tell
This article discusses Ellen Kuras and the 23 years that it took her to complete her directorial debut. (June 8, 2008)
New York: Documenting Lies: Ellen Kuras
In this article, Ellen Kuras discusses the beginnings of The Betrayal, which she started in the 1980s, and goes on to talk about the how it evolved into an intimate portrait of a family dealing with external and internal battles out of the family’s control. (Nov. 16, 2008)
The House Next Door: An Interview with The Betrayal’s Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
This podcast is an interview with Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath in which they explain their two-decade journey with the film, and describe the experience of both being in the film and working on the film. (Nov. 21, 2008)
The Reeler: Shooting at Will
In this interview, Ellen Kuras talks about working on making The Betrayal while also working as a cinematographer. Kuras also draws some parallels between working on The Betrayal and working on narrative films such as Be Kind Rewind. (Jan. 9, 2008)
Stepped Out of the Womb
The Betrayal‘s Thavisouk Phrasavath wrote a memoir spanning his childhood in Laos to his escape to America.
Background on Laos
CIA: The World Factbook
This backgrounder provides an encyclopedia-style overview of Laos from the U.S. government’s point of view.
Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
The website of the Laos Embassy to the United States provides information about Laos from the Laotian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (note: some of this site is in Lao). The site also features a photo gallery of Laotian scenery, as well as a quick fact sheet on the country.
The Times: A deadly harvest of cluster bombs in Laos
This article reports on the eerie remains from the secret air war — cluster bombs dropped by the United States are reportedly still active and pose a great danger to Laotian children almost 40 years later. (April 26, 2008)
A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between Grant Evans (Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2003)
This book provides an overview of Laos from the ancient times up to the present.
Here There Are Tigers: The Secret Air War in Laos, 1968-1969 Reginald Hathorn (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008)
A U.S. Air Force pilot who flew missions with the Lao Army describes his experiences fighting a war that was not officially acknowledged.
Laotian Refugees in America
The Christian Science Monitor: A Hmong refugee finds power in the written word
This article discusses a woman and her family in Laos and their experience of the Vietnam War. They became refugees, and their experiences dealing with a variety of ordeals in different refugee camps and different countries are chronicled. (June 16, 2008)
The Christian Science Monitor: One reporter’s odyssey tracking his uncle’s legacy in Laos
This article follows a journalist on his path to greater understanding of his great-uncle, a CIA agent who was in Laos during the Vietnam War. In his later years this same uncle went back to Laos and assisted the inhabitants of a village with humanitarian aid. (April 22, 2008)
The Times: Ghosts of the apocalypse
This article reports on the Hmong refugees who assisted the American military during the secret air war and now, almost 40 years later, live on the run from communist Lao soldiers who hunt them in the jungles. (Oct. 12, 2003)
Hmong Means Free: Life in Laos and America Sucheng Chan (Philidelphia: Temple University Press, 1994)
This collection of personal accounts from members of three different gengerations provides a picture of their lives in Laos before and during Communist rule and later as refugees in America.
I Begin My Life All Over: The Hmong and the American Immigrant Experience Lillian Faderman (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999)
Oral histories of Hmong refugees from Laos, shedding light on the impact on their lives of U.S. involvement in the region.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures Anne Fadiman (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1997)
The clash of cultural and medical traditions is described in this book about an epileptic member of the large Laotian community in Merced, Calif.
Gang Alternatives Program
This nonprofit organization provides services and programs that promote a gang-free lifestyle to young people and their families. Gang Alternatives Program’s website provides a page of gang statistics and another that suggests ways for people to get involved with the organization.
Gang Rescue and Support Project (GRASP)
A peer-run intervention program, GRASP works with youth who are at risk of gang involvement or are presently active in gangs, helps families of gang victims and serves as a youth advocate. The group’s website includes the Barrio Unity Report blog, which tracks different GRASP events and other gang prevention campaigns.
Working with young people in Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., Youth ALIVE! provides help to youth who face multiple barriers to safety and success. This includes young people who battle with poverty, violence in their neighborhoods, easy access to guns, limited access to resources, high drop-out rates from school and more.
Born to Kill: The Rise and Fall of America’s Bloodiest Asian Gang T.J. English (New York: Harper Paperbacks, reprint 2009)
This book studies a youth gang made up of teenage refugees who targeted other Asian groups.
Refugees and War Recovery
American Refugee Committee (ARC)
With its partners and constituencies, ARC works to provide opportunities and expertise to refugees, displaced people and host communities. The organization helps people survive conflict and crisis and rebuild lives of dignity, health, security and self-sufficiency. ARC is committed to the delivery of programs that ensure measurable quality and lasting impact for the people it serves.
Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC)
The CMC is an international coalition working to protect civilians from the effects of cluster munitions by promoting universal adhereance to and full implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The website for the organization features maps of both affected countries and producers of munitions, and personal stories of those affected by the cluster munitions in Laos.
Mines Advisory Group
A humanitarian organization, MAG works to remove and destroy weapons in conflict-affected countries. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, MAG has worked in Laos since 1994, removing countless unexploded bombs to allow community members to live safer lives and to support the country’s socio-economic development. The group has a page on its website dedicated to its efforts in Laos that features news updates and photo and video galleries, as well as publications concerning its efforts.
United States Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL)
USCBL is a coalition working to ban further U.S. use, production and export of anti-personnel landmines and cluster bombs. The coalition also works to encourage the United States to ratify the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, and to garner high levels of U.S. government support for demining and assistance programs for victims of landmines, cluster bombs and other unexploded remnants of war.
Southeast Asian Organizations
Center for Lao Studies
This nonprofit organization is a resource center for both the general public and those of Lao heritage. It serves as a liaison to cultural and community organizations, universities and academic institutions. The mission of the center is to advance knowledge and engagement in the field of Lao studies through research, education and information sharing. The site contains a media section, which features videos dealing with aspects of Lao culture, including dance and food.
Legacies of War
Raising awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing in Laos, Legacies of War, a project of the nonprofit group Public Interest Projects, advocates for the removal of unexploded bombs, provides space for healing the wounds of war and creates greater hope for a future of peace. Legacies of War uses a unique combination of art, culture, education, community organizing, advocacy and dialogue to create healing out of the wreckage of war. The website features an article about the cluster bombs that are still active in Laos and a list of ways that people can join in the the effort to remove these bombs.
Laotian American National Alliance (LANA)
The website of this umbrella organization for Laotians in the United States includes links to various communities and events, announcements from scholars seeking Laotians for research purposes and a wide range of initiatives on topics from combating juvenile delinquency to promoting participation in the 2010 U.S. census.
Laotian American Society (LAS)
This nonprofit organization commits itself to serving as a resource for people of all ethnic origins who are native to Laos or have ties to Lao culture and heritage. LAS works to help Laotian Americans improve their quality of life, education, health and welfare by organizing and sponsoring educational, cultural, social and other related activities, as well as by promoting communication and education on issues related to the Laotian community.
Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
The website of this Minnesota organization formed by Lao immigrants to help in resettlement efforts includes an excellent set of links to other Lao resources and groups. The site also explains how citizens can volunteer to improve the lives of Lao immigrants and refugees in their communities.
Hmong National Development (HND)
A national nonprofit organization, HND is dedicated to building community, developing leaders and empowering families in the Hmong American community. HND has implemented programs, technical assistance training and needs assessments to strengthen local community based organizations that assist Hmong American families in matters of economic development, education and social justice. On its website, the organization publishes a newsletter that contains updates on legislation concerning Hmong development, as well as updates on organizational activities.
PBS and NPR
The Split Horn
From the mountains of Laos to the heartland of America, The Split Horn: Life of a Hmong Shaman in America documents a family gripped by dramatic cultural transformation as ancient Hmong traditions collide with American lifestyles.
Independent Lens: “Refugees”
Meet three young Cambodian American men, raised on the streets of San Francisco’s tough Tenderloin district, as they travel to Cambodia to meet fathers, sisters and brothers for the first time, revealing family secrets, the heavy toll of years of separation and the quagmire of Cambodia’s political history.
American Experience: Vietnam Online
This online companion to Vietnam: A Television History provides a timeline of the Vietnam War, reflections from individuals, and maps, all of which offer context on Laos’ involvement in the war. (March 2005)
NewsHour: The Hmong in America
Correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro of Twin Cities Public Television in Minnesota talks about how the Hmong people of Laos resettled into new lives in the United States. (May 4, 2000)
Tell Me More: Arkansas Community Sees Changing Face of Immigration
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report that projects that whites will no longer be a majority of Americans by 2042. One community dealing with burgeoning racial diversity is Gentry, Ark., where a significant number of Hmong immigrants from Southeast Asia are settling. Gentry residents Blia Xeng, Doua Thor and Randy Barrett discuss the immigrant experience and how Gentry is changing. (Aug. 20, 2008)
Morning Edition: Hmong Fill Jobs Left Empty by Immigration Raid
This article examines the results of a government raid on a poultry processing plant where two-thirds of the employees were undocumented Latino workers who ended up being deported. In response to this, the factory owners scrambled to refill positions and recruited Hmong workers in particular. (May 29, 2007)
Talk of the Nation: Small Towns and Immigration
Small-town America is not as homogenous as it used to be. Take Wausa, Wisc., home to more than 4,000 Hmong refugees from Southeast Asia. In a special broadcast from Wausau, guests and callers discuss small-town immigration. (Feb. 2, 2006)
Day to Day: Hmong Anti-Communist Fighters Leaving the Jungle
Failed anti-communist fighters are beginning to emerge from the jungles of Laos, 30 years after defeat. The fighters, who once worked with the CIA to overthrow the communist government of Laos and ran for their lives after the communists won in 1975 are finally beginning to leave the jungles of Laos and re-enter society. Doualy Xaykaothao reports from Bangkok. (June 16, 2005)
All Things Considered: Hmong Refugees Begin Journey to United States
When Hmong hill tribesmen fled their native Laos after the Vietnam War, many ended up in neighboring Thailand, where they have lived in poverty for decades. In December 1003, some 15,000 of these stateless citizens were offered citizenship in the United States when this show first aired in 2004. Doualy Xaykaothao traveled to the refugee camp near Tham Krabock temple in central Thailand to report on their preparations for departure. (June 24, 2004)