A presentation to mark President Souphanouvong’s birthday on July 13 was delivered to government officials by the President of the Lao Front for National Development, Dr Xaysomphone Phomvihane.President Souphanouvong was born in 1909 in Luang Prabang and was the son of the Viceroy. He had two stepsisters and two stepbrothers - Princes Phetsarath and Souvannaphoumma – the children of a different mother.\r\n
In 1920, Souphanouvong went to Vietnam to attend secondary school. He was a diligent student and excelled in many areas including languages, the arts and literature. He also enjoyed sports and was a talented musician. \r\n
He went to study in France in 1931 where he obtained a degree in civil engineering. He travelled in Europe and Africa where he learned several languages and was able to communicate with the citizens of the countries he visited.
His revolutionary life started after he graduated and became Laos’ first civil engineer. In the 1940s, he began to communicate with key leaders in the Lao patriotic movement and throughout Indochina.
He returned from working in Vietnam to Laos in October 1945 and started to mobilise a military force to strengthen the revolutionary movement.
In early 1946, French troops launched an offensive in Thakhaek and began reoccupying large towns throughout the country.
In Thakhaek, Lao and Vietnamese troops under Souphanouvong’s command fought valiantly against the enemy’s frenzied offensive, which was backed up by their aerial capability and heavy artillery. The French troops finally reoccupied Thakhaek and massacred its population.
In May 1953 Souphanouvong was accepted as a member of the Indochinese communists. In May 1955, he became a member of the Lao People’s Party Central Committee.
In early 1959, the government of Phouy Sananikone enacted an anti-communist law and Souphanouvong and several other leaders were arrested and imprisoned on August 28 that year. But on May 23, 1960, they escaped from prison and returned to the revolutionary base in safety.
On December 1 and 2, 1975, a National Congress of the people’s representatives was held in Vientiane and adopted a historic resolution to abolish the monarchy and proclaim the formation of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Souphanouvong was appointed as the country’s first President and Chairman of the People’s Supreme Assembly. President Souphanouvong remained as the head of state until 1991. He passed away in 1995 after setting an inspirational example for future generations through his personal self-sacrifice for the benefit of his country.
By Phomphong Laoin