The organization Legacies of War shared this animated video on the impacts of U.S. bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War. I thought the filmmaker, Corey Sheldon, put together a very attractive and informative video, although the history is perhaps understandably simplified. Today, the remnants of unexploded bombs are still a problem in Laos, decades after the war has ended, so I think projects like this one are helpful in raising awareness, particularly in the United States. <div style=”text-align:center”>
The Lingering Effects of the War in Laos
Robert, I know your internet connection may not allow you to watch this. Sorry about that.
Thanks Patrick. You’re right. It takes a very special day for me to see any more than one second bursts. However, think I saw it last month. Good, but as i remarked at the time ~ if you find yourself and a friend walking through a potential mine field with metal detectors, PLEASE don’t walk quite so closely together! (150 yards apart might be okay!) Since an erudite source calculated that at the current rate of clearance, Laos should be 100% safe to walk in around 2,000 years from now, this kind of reminder is always appropriate to those who stand no chance of stepping on a tennis ball that will rip them apart — and any of their friends nearby.
oh no ! Xeing khoung province’s my hometown. i love so much but a lot of bombs on the ground. a lot of people were killed by bombs. as i remembered that it came from USA and France who made our land unsafe and Lao people unfortunately. when i was a kid at 6 – 10 and my friends, we didn’t know excaetly about bombing, didn’t scary to throw it, hit it, sometime take to show my family and my family was very scary and punished me with the long whip to my body, yeah, i’ve never never forgot, however, i’ve had still lucky til now. But opposited between me and other people. they lost their leg. legs, eye, eyes, hand, hands, and more than this is dead.
this issue is socailty’s responsibility and very pity them. Question is : if there is someone in your family die or no leg, no eye, no arm and it’s your responsibility . what’s you going to do? how is your feeling and your soul ?
Have you got a nightmare?
Lanhxai. I deeply sympathise with your feelings. Xiang Khouang is, by the way, not Xiang Khouang any more but Phone Savan (as capital of XK). The old town, your home town, of Xiang Khouang is still there but not what it used to be (not that it was ever enormous!). The area was very heaviliy bombed. But so was the entire eastern side of Laos, all the way down to Attopeu. The bombing wasn’t precision and bombers jettisoned any bombs intended for Vietnam on Laos before returning to bases in Thailand. Recent deaths include bomb explosions on the Thailand border of Champassak, which was way off the bombing route. While the Plain of Jars was continuously bombed for nine years day and night — seen from the air it looks like Swiss cheese — the southeastern parts of Laos was as badly affected, particularly that part of Savannakhet Province within 100 kms of Vietnam. It is that area that has seen most casualties in recent year. In total the area ‘dangerous’ is about the size of Florida. Some of it has been cleared for mining. And just two years ago a tunnel copper mine was found in recently cleared land with timbers inside that carbon-dated over 2,000 years. So a copper industry was active towards the end of the civilisation that built the famous ‘Jars’ in Xiang Khouang Province. Of course the loss in human life and limbs is a priority but also important is to preserve the ancient pre-history of civilisations that stretched from Hua Phan, through the Jars, to Sepon. WE are still waiting a decision that the Plain of Jars be declared a UNESCO Heritage Site. When it is, it will not only help tourism in Laos but perhaps help commitment to clearing Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) that remain active and prevent discovery of earlier human civilisations.
BTW, while France dropped bombs during the many rebellions against it, these were the conventional bombs intended to explode on impact. Current dangers are from the millions of cluster bombs dropped only by the USA. IT is thought that some 30% remain active 50 years since dropped. The sad fact is that those who developed the bombs knew many would not explode on touchdown, but lay in wait for anybody passing or attempting to farm or use the area. Perhaps they did not know activity would endure so long, but those who dropped the bombs remain responsible for those who have died and been maimed, few of whom were born when the war was on. The US rightly insists on compensation for those affected by an oil spill near America, but fails to meet its responsibilities to clear up the litter of war that now kills and maims its friends.
“The US rightly insists on compensation for those affected by an oil spill near America, but fails to meet its responsibilities to clear up the litter of war that now kills and maims its friends.”
Fantastic site, Inspiring !!!