Landmines have tormented the earth since the Chinese began implementing them during wars of the 13th century. Since then, they have been used to wreak havoc throughout the world.
Contrary to popular belief, landmines are often designed to maim, not kill. The strategy is to increase the logistical burden on the enemy, forcing them to provide medical care and evacuate causalities.
Unfortunately, post-conflict zones, such as the DRC, still remain a wasteland for undetonated mines. Children, women and men alike become victim to their violence.
I would like you to meet one of our current patients, a soldier in the DRC. He was recently assigned to the treacherous duty of mine clearance and maintenance. On a recent mission, he was carrying active mines in his outstretched arms and one of them spontaneously detonated. His arms and left eye were destroyed.
He is now handicapped and unemployed. He will no longer be able to financially support his children and wife. Unfortunately, he is now a burden on his entire family, many of his friends and his community.
The many stories similar to this soldier from around the world have spawned a call to action. As of this year, 156 countries have signed the Ottawa Treaty committing to refrain from manufacturing, stockpiling and using anti-personnel mines. Unfortunately, as of last week 38 countries, including the USA, China and Russia, have refused to participate in the convention.
We must stop indiscriminately destroying people’s lives and join together in the worldwide effort to ban landmines.
Please see the following website: