5. Plain of Jars

Laos is the most heavily bombed country, per capita, in the history of the world. The unexploded ordnance (UXO) from cluster bombs during the Vietnam War continue to lie in forests, rice fields, villages and school grounds near the Plain of Jars today, where bomb craters dot its landscape. Children are drawn to the small, toy-like metal balls; others salvage valuable metal and try to make money. 

We watch a short film depicting a man who was farming in his backyard in 2013 when a bombie exploded, leaving him with a loss of both arms. The family has since stopped using their land. ‘We are always afraid in the field,’ his wife says. As we leave the film screening, someone comments: well, now we have an idea what to expect in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

bomb crater


cafe displaying ex-bomb casings 

Beyond killing and injuring people, UXO also prevents (delays) development and perpetuates poverty, doesnt it? it’s going to take hundreds of years to finish clearing these cluster bombs

was a little conflicted about this. see, using these aluminium from bombs to make ‘souvenirs’ are beneficial because it’s a source of income, but it also encourages further attempts to pick out these bomb casings, which is highly dangerous and risky for the children / poor families. should we support them and purchase these? (what if it’s a significant source of income?) but by doing so are we only supporting the risktaking efforts? should they be forced to look for alternative sources of income instead, and this shouldn’t be an option at all?

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