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On Elephants, People, and Landmines

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Following up from my last post about elephants in Thailand, I wanted to share with you a short video taken by one of my travel companions, Mary Ann Bennett. At the bottom of this post, I suggest two important action steps you can take to help ban landmines.

The video shows one of the elephants at the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital, near Lampang, who was a victim of landmines along the Thai-Burma border. She is being treated here by one of the technicians. If I remember correctly, she came to the hospital several months ago and we learned that it would take many more months for her foot to heal.

A warning — this video is heart-wrenching. But in the spirit of bearing witness, I invite you to watch it and keep in mind the many people and animals that are maimed by landmines across the world.

One source estimates that 721 Burmese civilians were casualties of landmines in 2008, and worldwide, 41% of all mine casualties were children. While many of the wounded die, the majority of victims survive (88% in Burma in 2008) but are left permanently maimed. (Information from Physicians for Human Rights.)

What can we do?

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About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. Currently, I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work. I also direct the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at Upaya Zen Center along with Roshi Joan Halifax, where we forge new pathways of everyday engagement and servant leadership.

3 responses »

  1. Thinking about the impact of landmines make me sick to my stomach, as do government “reviews” of the “tools” of war.

    Reply
  2. A friend of mine bought me a mine-sniffing rat sponsorship as a wedding present:

    http://www.herorat.org/how-we-help/landmine-detection

    They’re operating in Mozambique right now, but perhaps they may one day expand.

    They seem like quite a worthy cause to get involved with as well.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: doing it right « 108zenbooks

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