「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


A world without landmines

By Kip A. Cates


If we truly want to achieve world peace, we have to get rid of weapons of war. And the world is full of weapons ― guns, rockets, tanks, landmines. What are landmines? Landmines are special bombs which are buried in the ground. They’re designed to explode when a person steps on them.

Landmines are one of the cruelest weapons of war. Why? Because they don’t discriminate between soldiers and civilians. Their casualties include men and women, adults and children, young and old. Even after wars end, they can remain for days, months and years waiting for innocent victims.

Do you know any landmine victims? I do. My brother-in-law is a landmine survivor. He’s an American journalist. Back in the 1960s, he was sent to Asia to report on the Vietnam War. One day, he was walking with a group of American soldiers through the jungle. The soldiers were carrying rifles. He was carrying his camera and notebook. As he was walking, he suddenly stepped on a landmine buried in the ground.

Instantly, the landmine exploded, sending pieces of metal up into his body. Normally, he would have died instantly. But, somehow, he survived the explosion. The soldiers quickly called for an army helicopter. The helicopter took him to a nearby military hospital. After an emergency operation, he was taken to Saigon for further medical care. Eventually, he was flown back to New York where he spent one year in hospital.

Thanks to his doctors, he slowly recovered. But even now, 50 years later, he still suffers terrible pain from his injuries. To manage this pain, he swims an hour each day in a swimming pool. He’s lucky to be alive!

Hundreds of people around the world have worked to eliminate landmines. Famous celebrities connected to this movement include Princess Diana of England, pop singer Paul McCartney and Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie.

Here in Japan, musician Ryuichi Sakamoto recorded a 2001 CD entitled Zero Landmines to promote greater awareness of landmines and their victims. This CD featured famous singers such as Dreams Come True and Mr. Children, and sold half a million copies. Sales of the CD raised enough money to clear 3 million acres of landmines in Cambodia.

In 1997, an international treaty to ban landmines was signed in Canada by 150 countries. A Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) for this great achievement.

April 4 each year is International Landmine Awareness Day. This provides a good chance for us to think about this issue. There’s still a lot to do to destroy landmines and to aid landmine victims. All of us can help by supporting NGOs, governments and organizations working on this problem.

Let’s strive for a world without landmines where people can live in peace without fear of injury or death!



The Japan Times ST: February 20, 2015

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