Tiao Phetsarath and the Lao Issara
Grant Evans, Ph.D.

Reader in Anthropology
Centre for Anthropological Research
Department of Sociology
University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, PRC


Tiao Phetsarath was one of the most important figures in 20th century Lao nationalism. His leadership of the small Lao independance movement, the Lao Issara, from 1945-1949 brought him both notoriety and political prominence, but it also brought him into conflict with the Luang Phrabang monarchy which he had long supported. His motives for some were suspect. The disagreement between Phetsarath and the King would deprive Laos of one of its most important figures as it made the transition to independance and fell into the cauldon of the Cold War. The confusing events around the Issara movement also fragmented the country's political memory, and continues to do so today.