Reclaiming the Community

Vietnam
Source: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 17 | Issue 18 | Number 2 | Sep 15, 2019


Reclaiming the Community One Bomb at a Time: The View From Indochina
Ted Lieverman

Ending a war is like stopping a heavy truck. Even when you slam on the brakes, the mass and inertia of the conflict takes a very long time to halt; the violence might end but the effects can reverberate through decades and generations. German units still find and defuse bombs in Germany dropped during World War II;1 French deminers regularly collect and destroy artillery shells on the Western Front from World War I, over a hundred years ago.2 During the active phase of a war, many of the shells and bombs hurled by armies on both sides fail to explode upon impact; many land mines are never tripped. Later they are forgotten in the forests or jungles, covered by vegetation or shifting soil, washed away by rain or floods - or sometimes they just sit there in plain sight. They linger for years or decades, waiting for children or unsuspecting villagers, scrap metal scavengers, or construction workers to wander by.

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