If you See a Bombie, do not Touch it!

Lao women have forged a close friendship performing a dangerous task to free their country of lethal vestiges of war.

Here’s a poem I wrote after watching Foreign Correspondent on 15 July 2014.

“If you see a bombie, do not touch it!”

They are small, only the size of a tennis ball
Millions scattered over the green country
Their deadly touch lying in wait

“If you see a bombie, do not touch it!”
Sing the little children, innocent souls, not even
Born when the bombs rained down on their parents

Every eight minutes, for nine years
While bloody battles raged in Vietnam
Now, decades later, still killing and maiming

“If you see a bombie, do not touch it!”
Teachers teach while mothers clear the land
Equipped with probes and vital instructions

How to detonate the cluster bombs
Shed on Laos every eight minutes
For nine years during the brutal war

Only the size of a tennis ball, but deadly
Difficult to see, pretending to be a rock
After four decades of rain and dust

Twenty thousand people killed or maimed
Since the deadly rains had ceased
As if the end of war was not

“If you see a bombie, do not touch it!”
But they mightn’t see the deadly trap!
Like the blind and handless farmer

Now walking through his village
Clinging to his loving wife
This new life trying to accept

There’s no anger in his heart
Such are Lao people, and the culprit
Says: “Let’s increase our annual funding.”

Twelve million dollars to be precise
Ten million more than all the years before
“If you see a bombie, do not touch it!”

Sing the little Lao children
While their brave and able mothers
Go on clearing the infested land


Cluster bomblets have been nicknamed “bombies” by the locals.
The United States dropped more than 260 million cluster bomblets on Laos during the Vietnam War.

Lao women leading effort to clear millions of
unexploded bombs left over from Vietnam War

Foreign Correspondent 15 July 2014 http://www.abc.net.au By Sally Sara

Copyright 2014 Irina Dimitric

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