Why Laos is the bomb!

Sanne van Oosten

No, I’m not trying to bring back slang from the early nineties. Nor am I letting this blog degenerate into a ordinary beach and party travel blog. With this blog I want to tell you how much bombs are part of the Laotian culture.

In the history of modern warfare, Laos is the most bombed country per capita in the world. You didn’t know that? Well, you’re not the only one. In 1963 president John F. Kennedy of the United States gave order to bomb Laos in an unprecedented way, without informing the world about this decision. In this so-called Secret War 2.093.100 tons of bombs were dropped on Laos. This started in 1964 and went on for nine years. Planes flew over and just dropped bombs all over the eastern countryside, mostly hitting civilian targets.

Up till this day, Laos lives with these bombs. In a previous blog we wrote about the grave implications these bombs still have, causing people to lose limbs and get serious burns upon explosion. In this blog I want to accentuate how these bombs are reused and given a place in the current society. Take a look.

If life hands you lemons, make lemonade, or a flower pot.

Good way to get your grill on.

Lamp at a restaurant called Utopia.

The best way to start your day, with a delicious Cluster Bomb breakfast.

The so-called bombies, part of the infamous the cluster bomb, as presented at COPE, a museum creating awareness for the effects these bombings still have on Laotian civilians. They also offer programs for disabled Laotians.

An old bomb in a monastery in Luang Prabang. It might be a little trickier to find a bomb in this picture. But it’s sure there. It’s used every morning to alert the monks that breakfast is starting.

This is not all without risk though. These bombs are scavenged by people who are looking to make some extra money in the scrap metal business. But many bombs are just waiting to be ignited to explode with the same bang as they would have 35 years ago. Since they are so desperate for money, they are willing to risk losing a limb or even their life. Up till this day, the Secret War is costing lives, and all of these bombs are vivid reminders of this.

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