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?
- The International Campaign to Ban Landmines offers a list of 10 things you can do to end the use of landmines. One of those steps is to join a national campaign in your country. This is the website for the U.S. Campaign.
- The U.S. is one of 39 countries that has not signed on to the Mine Ban Treaty. In December, 20102, President Obama has initiated a review of U.S. landmine policy. Send a letter to the President and to Secretary of State Clinton urging them to sign this treaty.