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 existing Laos government.
Operation Barrel Roll, as it was called, was one of the most secretive operations in US military history. It is no wonder, then, that relatively few know that the “U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.” [source]
Now that history and the explosive legacy it has let for the people of Laos in the form of a landscape littered with millions of pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) is going to be told. Starting at the United Nations in April, two Laotians will be touring the United States as part a speakers’ tour sponsored by the non-profit organization Legacies of War which is dedicated to raising awareness of, and funding for the UXO issue in Laos
I am very proud to be joining the VOICES FROM LAOS: Clearing Bombs, Protecting Lives Speakers Tour team as Communications Consultant. You will be hearing more from me on this in the coming weeks!
In the meantime, please read more about the good work of LEGACIES OF WAR at www.legaciesofwar.org.