“But it comes at a high price. At least 13,000 people have been killed or maimed, either digging in fields contaminated with live bombs or, increasingly, in their quest for lucrative scrap metal. Half the casualties are young boys [ 6,500 boys are killed in Laos collecting scrap metal from American bombs] , most killed by exploding tennis-ball-sized cluster bomblets – christened “bombies” locally – that are everywhere.”
Local farmers are aware that 37% of the land in Laos is untouchable, because American military industrial waste—unexploded bombs—are everywhere. So risking their lives to dig up bombs that would otherwise kill their sons seems like a worthy risk.
And women in Laos see an upside to both the recent upsurge in metal prices due to China‘s growing economy, and America’s post-war scrap metal warporn policies, and Hmong women associates thrive in such an economic boom time that nets Americas newest uplifted minority almost more than a dollar a day.
According to the Guardian, the trade is “so lucrative that scrap dealers ferry collectors by truck to virgin forests every day. Sypha Phommachan, 45, need not to go to such lengths. Farmers around Thajok village beat a path to the scrap dealer’s door. A pile of fragments, casings, and mortars is all she had left after the foundry took away nearly eight tonnes a few days before.
In Thajok, a woman collects the remnants of American bombing campaigns.
““That took me about three weeks to collect,” she said. “That’s quite slow because it’s the rice harvest season and people are busy farming. In a couple of months they’ll be out furiously collecting to raise cash for the Hmong festival.” Yet she carefully inspects the bomb harvest, rejecting live munitions. She knows the risks. In the six years she has lived in the village, 10 people have been killed collecting scrap. One 50-year-old man died three months ago when he tossed half a “bombie” he believed safe into the wicker basket on his back. It exploded and the ball-bearings it threw out went clean through his chest, killing him instantly.
Which is good news to American feminists and the growing industry of female sex tourism, the CIA brothels there and elsewhere, and the FBI’s mission of prosecuting CIA brothel clientele when they return to the United States, because more young girls are left fatherless, and available for Americas wider objectives of ending female child exploitation by foreigners who come to Asia for short term sex tourism.
- UXO & Plain of Jars – Phonsavan, Lao Peoples Dem Rep (travelpod.com)
- The Great Champot Frisbee Tournament. – Luang Prabang, Lao Peoples Dem Rep (travelpod.com)
- Over 28,000 ha become UXO-free (laospdrnews.wordpress.com)
- WAT A Lot Of Rain – Luang Prabang, Lao Peoples Dem Rep (travelpod.com)
- Pathet Lao Caves – Vieng Xai, Lao Peoples Dem Rep (travelpod.com)