Hey there friends, I will be in Minneapolis, MN this Wednesday June 15th as a special guest speaker at the Mines Advisory Group and Legacies of War Fundraiser to remove cluster bombs and unexploded munitions left in Laos by the U.S. The event will be held at the Target Auditorium of the historic Open Book Building in downtown Minneapolis. Starting at 5:30 PM until 8:00 PM, the event is to raise support for two organizations: the Mines Advisory Group and Legacies of War, with a particular focus on efforts in Southeast Asia.
The Mines Advisory Group is a neutral and impartial humanitarian organization that clears the remnants of conflict for the benefit of communities worldwide. Since 1989, MAG has worked in 35 countries. They are a co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for their work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which culminated in the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The work of the Mines Advisory Group has been featured in award-winning films such as the documentary Bomb Harvest that showed the harrowing experience of removing bombs from rural villages in Laos.
The fundraiser will include interactive displays and a final look at photos and art from the acclaimed Legacies of War: Refugee Nation exhibit at Intermedia Arts in October, including hand-drawn images by refugees that were pivotal in the discovery of the Secret War in Laos and the bombings.
“These illustrations are a historic example of the intersection between art, history and international policy,” said Bryan Thao Worra, a Minneapolis-based Lao American writer and dear friend of mine.
“When the villagers drew these, they had no words to describe all they experienced in the bombings, but it led to a chain reaction of events that ended the bombing in Laos and to today’s efforts to eliminate cluster bombs around the world,” Thao Worra added. “This will be the very last time these are seen in Minnesota for years as they go on tour now.”
Last year the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions went into effect calling for an end to the use, sale, and transfer of cluster bombs, which continue to affect countries long after conflicts are over. In Laos, for example, over 30% of the countryside remains contaminated with bombs that can still explode and terrorize villages over 36 years since the end of the war. Legacies of War executive director, Channapha Khamvongsa, will speak about her recent visit to Laos on the progress of UXO removal efforts in Laos and the approaching 1 year anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In addition dancers from the Lao Student Association of the University of Minnesota will also perform briefly, as there will also be a silent auction held and refreshments served.
Tickets are a suggested $20 donation although no donations are turned away and additional donations are encouraged. For more information you can visit the Mines Advisory Group at www.maginternational.org and Legacies of War atwww.legaciesofwar.org. Please come see me or support anyway you can!
Labels: bombs, laos, legacies of war, mines advisory group, minneapolis, uxo