News / Asia

New Documentary Illustrates Plague of Leftover Landmines

From Laos to Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and many other countries, local inhabitants live in daily fear of stepping on a landmine or unexploded ordnance left after a conflict, and documentary 'Surviving the Peace' shows an organization that hel
From Laos to Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and many other countries, local inhabitants live in daily fear of stepping on a landmine or unexploded ordnance left after a conflict, and documentary 'Surviving the Peace' shows an organization that hel
Amra Alirejsovic

Remnants of war, including unexploded ordnance and landmines, are still found in many countries around the world - even decades after conflicts have ended. Those dangers often devastate the lives of local inhabitants, who might not be aware they live in the middle of a minefield.

An international organization that helps clear and destroy weapons left behind in war zones recently screened a documentary called Surviving the Peace, which shows how remnants of a conflict affect people’s lives, even after their country has emerged from war.

In many regions of the globe, surviving a war is followed by surviving the peace. From Laos, where this new documentary was filmed, to Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and many other countries, local inhabitants live in daily fear of stepping on a landmine or unexploded ordnance left after a recent conflict.

Surviving the Peace, filmed in Laos in May 2011, reflects a situation found in many countries. It features a young father who is blinded when a bomb left over from the Vietnam War explodes in the fire he is making at his home.

“The guy had most of his face deformed and we were this close [to him]. They allowed us in and we were complete strangers. It felt like we were given a gift from these people to be allowed into their lives,” said filmmaker and cinematographer Rick Gershon.

He said that he and his partner Nathan Golon received a warm welcome in Laos. Even though, as Golon pointed out, the subject they were covering was a sensitive issue.

“We had sensitivities to the fact that here we are in these people’s homes as Americans and these were American bombs that injured people. We never felt the slightest bit of reproach from these people,” Golon.

The documentary was the idea of Patricia Loria, marketing manager for an organization called "Mines Advisory Group," or "MAG."

“The story is powerful not only for Laos, but hopefully it is powerful enough for everyone who really cares about justice, their children, or just helping others,” said Loria.

The United Nations estimates more than 110 million active mines are still scattered in 70 countries around the world. This means one landmine for every 52 people. MAG currently has about 3,500 people working around the world to clear and destroy leftover weapons - most of them local residents. Jennifer Lachman, the executive director of MAG America, said the organization has one main goal.

“…  helping people recover and get back on their feet safely and prosperously after conflicts," said Lachman.

MAG has worked in more than 35 countries since it began in 1987... Its work earned it the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. It has most recently worked in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan - and in Libya.

“Libya is an example where we launched an emergency operation as soon as areas were safe enough for us to work there. We trained members of the National Transitional Council to work with us to destroy ammunitions and secure them,” said Lachman.

This is not the first time MAG has taken the cinematic route to raise awareness about its cause. The group also has produced films about Bosnia and the Democratic Republic of Congo - and is working on two others - about Angola and Sudan.
 

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More