This week marks the two-year anniversary of my ill-fated trip to Afghanistan in February of 2012.
I wrote about this trip on this blog before. I decided a few months ago to use the story as the opening to a book on my experiences working in mine-action from 1997 to present. The book is tentatively called "The Missing Peace: My Personal Journey Confronting the Explosive, Deadly Legacy of War from Vietnam to Afghanistan" .
To mark the anniversary of my trip and to make a public commitment to (Read More) Read More
Today I was fortunate to be with the Legacies of War Voices fom Laos team as we spent the morning at the Democracy Now! studio for an interview with host Amy Goodman. I love how the interview turned out. My friends Thoummy, Manixia and Channapha did a phenomenal job of explaining the legacy of the bombings of Laos, their own personal experiences and the urgent need for funding for clearance and victims assistance.
After the interview we headed over the United Nations where Thoummy, (Read More) Read More
Greetings from Washington, DC. I am here on contract with Legacies of War. Legacies, with the support of the U.S. State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA) is setting out on a tour of the USA to discuss and raise awareness of the lingering, deadly legacy of unexploded bombs in Laos. More than 20,000 Laotians have been killed or injured by bombs since the secret bombings of that country ended in 1973.
Hathaway Communications pitched the story to the Associated Press (Read More) Read More
Caught in the crossfire of the Vietnam War for nearly a decade, millions of tons of U.S. bombs rained down on the Southeast Asian countryside of Laos. The North Vietnamese had been illegally crossing into the country as part of the famed Ho Chi Minh Trail supply route that provided support to the communist Viet Cong of South Vietnam. In response, the U.S. Military secretly bombed Laos, initially to disrupt the Trail and later to prevent the communist Pathet Laos from overthrowing the (Read More) Read More
In addition to being the only country in the world to have reportedly deployed landmines in 2012, the Syrian government has also been using cluster munitions on rebels and civilian populations in its brutal effort to end the civil war there.
The use of cluster bombs has not only earned global condemnation, but has inadvertently served to help arm the rebels. Cluster munitions have a very high failure rate. Areas that have been target by cluster munitions often remain dangerous for decades (Read More) Read More
The BOMA Project, a Vermont-based nonprofit that helps poor women start small, sustainable businesses in their rural villages in Northern Kenya, is marking an important milestone as its signature program enters its fifth year of improving lives for generations to come in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, BOMA initiated the Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP), which has since lifted 23,000 women and children out of extreme poverty.
REAP is an innovative poverty-graduation program that offers business-skills (Read More) Read More
I am really excited to make this announcement! I have long known of the good work of the BOMA Project, a remarkably effective, Vermont-based organization working in Northern Kenya. Working with some of the world's poorest people to start and maintain their own businesses through education, micro-grants and on-going mentoring programs, BOMA is changing the lives of tens of thousands of Kenyans for generations to come. My fellow Vermonter, Kathleen Colson founded BOMA with two main principles (Read More) Read More
[I have updated this post with content from the comments. The inventors have since reached their goal and will be shooting a documentary with the funding.]
There is an old joke that goes "Why is divorce so expensive? Because it's worth it."
The same thing goes for landmine clearance.
From time to time I see really bad ideas that well-meaning people have to clear landmines more cheaply than is being done currently. I posted a few months ago about a landmine detection (Read More) Read More
This morning the Obama administration recognized the Syrian opposition as "the legitimate representative" of its Syrian people. A swift end to the crisis in Syria could not come soon enough for Jordan. Currently, according to the UN, there are 144,226 registered (or awaiting registration) Syrian refugees here . On top of that, up to 2,000 Syrian men, women and children cross the border every day with uncertain futures and little hope.
More accurately. they cross every night.
"We rotate (Read More) Read More
The cluster bomb in the former living room of 60's rock band Manfred Mann just outside London no longer carries as deadly a cargo. It's been converted into a cabinet and now only contains a few bottles of whiskey. Landmines of all varieties and nations line the bookshelves alongside instruction manuals on how they can be safely removed from the ground and defuzed. Most of the manuals were written by the current owner of the 400 year-old home, our host, Colin King.
Outside Colin’s house, (Read More) Read More