Volume 91, Issue 39

Thursday, November 6, 1997

purple goat


Shoe your support

Re: Land mine destruction

To the Editor:
"Romdol's story is typical. She survived nine years of Cambodia's civil war without injury, until the morning she spent gathering bamboo shoots in the jungle to sell in the market. She remembers the quiet 'click' of the detonator underfoot, then the roar and being flung through the air. Her left leg was shredded." Her 14-year-old friend carried her two steps before detonating another mine. Both girls survived, but with legs amputated and severe injuries (told by David Kupp for World Vision).

Romdol and her friend are among the lucky ones. Some victims die a lonely, painful death. Handicap International estimates one million land mine casualties in the last 15 years. The U. N. estimates that 100 million unexploded devices are now sown in some 62 countries. They can be bought for as little as $3, the price of a snack at CentreSpot. They are buried and sometimes scattered from planes like confetti. Their purpose is the denial of access to enemy troops. But most of their victims are women, children and seniors going about their daily routines long after the troops have left their wares behind.

Many countries, including Canada, have profited from the manufacture of these cruel devices. World Vision reports that Italy, Sweden, the U. S., the former U.S.S.R., Vietnam and Austria are among those producing mines today.

On Nov. 10 and 11, Remembrance Day, students will have an opportunity to remember victims of land mines. All students are invited to bring a shoe (that can be parted with) to contribute to a Shoe Memorial – a pile of shoes recalling the injuries and death suffered by land mines casualties. The memorial will be placed in the Atrium of the University Community Centre.

Michael Veenema
UWO Chaplain

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997