Kaysone Phomvihane
April 19, 2007 10:10 AM   Subscribe

He fought battles on the Plain of Jars, hid his rebel faction in caves for nine years to escape U.S bombs and now has a huge museum in Vientiane. Laos' Kaysone Phomvihane is not the most well documented 20th century communist leader. And not everybody is happy about him of course. But if you want to judge him for yourself go to Laos and visit those caves or visit his humble residence and have a look at his tennis shoes.
posted by PHINC (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It always kind of bugs me when the press says "caves" when they really mean "mines." Interesting bunch of links, though. There are real caves, and nice ones, in that part of the world, and American cavers get there from time to time. If I ever find myself on a caving trip to Laos (unlikely in this lifetime) I'd make a stop to see this.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:29 AM on April 19, 2007

Thanks, most educational.
posted by Abiezer at 11:06 AM on April 19, 2007

Interesting post, and Kaysone is certainly the least known of the successful leaders of the world's "liberation" Communist parties. (He kept himself out of the spotlight so successfully that Hugh Tove, in his generally well-informed Laos: Buffer State or Battleground (1968), refers to him as "Kaysone Fasan.") But, um, I really don't need to "visit his humble residence and have a look at his tennis shoes" in order to judge him. Reading about what happened to Laos after the Communist takeover will do just fine, thanks.
posted by languagehat at 11:16 AM on April 19, 2007

I would love to find a link about the Laos royal family, who were apparently quite French. All I can find is Wikipedia.
posted by parmanparman at 11:25 AM on April 19, 2007

Off subject but the Plain of Jars is the most boring site I've ever been to.
posted by josher71 at 11:34 AM on April 19, 2007

Aw, c'mon languagehat. Didn't your mum tell you always to look at a man's shoes first, and his line on the Kruschev's speech at the secret session of the 20th congress second?
posted by Abiezer at 11:47 AM on April 19, 2007

Yes, yes she did.

I had to have her purged.
posted by languagehat at 11:57 AM on April 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

So is it wrong of me that I found the whole Plain of Jars thing the most interesting bit of this post?


What's with the plain full of jars?
posted by stenseng at 1:42 PM on April 19, 2007

The Plain of Jars are pretty dull, to visit. But the history there is surreal: bombs falling on communists nestled in a site worthy of Neonard Nimoy and then escaping to live in caves.
posted by PHINC at 2:21 PM on April 19, 2007

OMG "Neonard Nimoy." That is so my next username.
posted by Haruspex at 3:42 PM on April 19, 2007

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