The Interdisciplinary Resource  
  Subscribe
Login
 
 
     
Search  
Sort by:
Results Listed:
Date Range:
  Advanced Search
 
The World & I eLibrary

Teacher's Corner

World Gallery

Global Culture Studies (at homepage)

 
 
Social Studies

Language Arts

Science


The Arts

Spanish
 
 
Crossword Puzzle
 
 
American Indian Heritage
American Waves
Biographies
Ceremonies/Festivities
Diversity in America
Eye on the High Court
Fathers of Faith
Footsteps of Lincoln
Genes & Biotechnology
Impacts
Media in Review
Millennial Moments
Peoples of the World
Poetry
Point/Counterpoint
Profiles in Character
Science and Spirituality
Shedding Light on Islam
Speech & Debate
The Civil War
The U.S. Constitution
Traveling the Globe
Worldwide Folktales
World of Nature
Writers & Writing

 

Khao-I-Dang and the Conscience of the West


Article # : 12767 

Section : CURRENT ISSUES
Issue Date : 3 / 1987  1,696 Words
Author : John Bowles

       Ever since the first waves of frightened and starving Cambodians began crossing the Thai border in 1979 and shocked the conscience of the world, almost 200,000 men, women, and children have walked, crawled, or played in the orange, dusty streets of the Khao-I-Dang refugee camp.
       
        Situated on the sparsely wooded plains in eastern Thailand a few miles from the Cambodian border, the huge compound of bamboo and thatch houses was opened in November 1979 to provide emergency shelter for the hundreds of thousands of Cambodians fleeing the Vietnamese invasion of their country. Food, water, and medical services were provided by Thai and international relief organizations.
       
        However, Thailand announced recently that it is closing Khao-I-Dang and planning to send the last of the Khmer people back to the embattled border areas, where three Cambodian resistance groups are fighting against heavily armed Vietnamese occupation forces and their communist Cambodian allies. This amounts to a sharp shift in policy.
       
        On numerous occasions in the past, Bangkok had stated that its policy was not to repatriate Indochinese refugees in "unsafe areas."
       
        Since 1979, some 138,000 of the Khmer (Cambodians) at Khao-I-Dang have been resettled in the United States and another 20,000 in other countries. In the routine screening process, U.S. officials rejected 14,500 of the last 25,000 Khmers up for resettlement, based on suspicions that the applicants had been too close to the cruel Khmer Rouge communists who ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. Another 4,300 "family card holders" are still hoping to be accepted on the basis of having relatively already living in the United States. The remainder of the camp inhabitants are described as "illegals" who don't meet the criteria as refugees.
       
        Since the initial tidal wave of misery pouring out of Cambodia peaked in 1980, receptivity for refugees in Western countries has, unfortunately, waned. Thailand has complained repeatedly about this trend, calling on the resettlement countries to honor pledges made in 1979 to take refugees from Thai camps. The increasing strictness of the resettlement countries' immigration policies has been criticized by some as being unrealistic and "insensitive." UN High Commissioner for Refugees Poul Hartling has referred to the decline in aid as "compassion fatigue" - a gradual tiring of helping others.
       
        Can America do more?
       
        The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) may be taking its lead from the anticommunist Reagan administration in rejecting the Khmer Rouge followers, or it may have other reasons. But those with ill will toward America don't need to enter the country as refugees. International terrorists are said to have trouble-free access to U.S. soil through the "porous" southern border and the country's coastlines. And in 1982, Congress amended the 1952 Immigration and Naturalization Act, making it possible for known but "otherwise admissible" communists to enter America. Picking on destitute Cambodians, whether they are friends of the Khmer Rouge or not, is "too little, too late - and in the wrong place."
       
        Furthermore, Americans spend billions of dollars every year on legal and
... Read Full Article
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

Copyright 2018 The World & I Online. All rights reserved.