Archive for the ‘War’ Category

Photo gallery: Anzac Day 2011, Dalby

Anzac Day for me this year was spent in Dalby, about 200km west of Brisbane. We were heading back to the city after Easter out in the bush (more in coming posts) and Dalby seemed a good spot to stop for the commemorations.

Dalby is just a regional town, so imagine my surprise therefore when I came across Premier Anna Bligh and Major General Michael Slater (heading up the Queensland recovery effort) at the event too.

I always find Anzac Day both incredibly meaningful and perhaps the most important day for us as Australians and free people. And the Dalby RSL really made that happen for me this year. They had organised a parade, a service and a generous luncheon afterwards for everyone, not just the vets and their families.
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Photo of the day: Smoking pipes in Vietnam

Earlier this year I bought a motorbike and travelled from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi – you can see the blogs on www.asiancorrespondent.com/visitedplanet.

The section to A Luoi, north and inland from Danang, was a mountainous route that took me into terrain a bit like what you see in Papua New Guinea with hills pressing in on each other and the road, the gradient never less than 10 percent going either up or down making it impossible really to ever stop the bike to take a good look around.

There was also a distinct feeling in these parts that it had not seen a foreign face for some time. There are a number of ethnic groups in this region, many of whom I saw fossicking for war scrap along the rivers. The women often can be seen smoking pipes. I had a number of interactions with these people but their work along the riverbeds seemed hot, desperate and also rather sad despite their cheery outlook as this photo would suggest.

A woman working by the riverbed near A Luoi

 

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations. See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

Cambodian women removing landmines

I was encouraged to receive this post today from Vodpod about women clearing landmines in Cambodia. The reporter in the video says it’s suprising so many women volunteer to clear the mines. In Kamreang district near Battambang where there are many landmines, 54 of the 91 mine clearers are women, the highest proportion in the region.

On the video women comment:
My community should be free of mines. Clear them all. Then people will be able to use their land productively.
And another:
I won’t stop working until all the landmines are gone.

It’s a dangerous job but the Cambodian Mine Action Centre says women are more careful than men and follow the rules.

I personally don’t find this information startling. Women would no doubt be concerned for the future of their children with a high community consciousness. According to the blurb below the video:
Women were among the first to remove landmines in the 1980s. In Cambodia today, women deminers are vital in the removal process. Removal of landmines insures greater safety for many children in many rural areas surrounding Laos.

Here’s a few statistics from UNICEF on landmines in Cambodia:
* In Cambodia, an average of 20 per cent of children injured by mines and unexploded ordnance die from their injuries.
Afghanistan, Angola and Cambodia have suffered 85 per cent of the world’s land-mine casualties.
* In northern Iraq, Kurdish children have used round mines as wheels for toy trucks, while in Cambodia, children use B40 anti-personnel mines to play ‘boules’, notes the report.
* Cambodian farmland has been so severely contaminated by mines, for example, that only 2,435 families were able to take up allocations of land out of the 85,000 originally scheduled.

I remember my own visit to Battambang, Cambodia and seeing the mine danger signs and tales of children who had stepped on them while playing in a field. There’s fabulous work being done by many organizations to help clear mines. Here’s a few:

# Cambodian Self Help Demining
# Landmine Relief Fund
# Cambodia Landmine Museum Relief Fund
# Cambodian Mine Action Center
# Aki Ra, Landmines and News from the Jungle Blog
# Project Enlighten

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

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