Unknown to most, Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita, in history.
A bombing mission was carried out – on average – every 8 minutes for 9 years.
Approximately 2 million tons of ordnance landed on Laos soil when the CIA waged its “Secret War” on the small nation.
During this time, more than 260 million cluster munitions were cast over Laos. An estimated 78 million active bomblets currently contaminate the Laos landscape. The most heavily impacted areas are Loas’ poorest districts.
Cluster munitions make up approximately 50% of the unexploded ordnance (UXO) that remains in Laos today.
These weapons attack indiscriminately and act as harsh reminders of a war that ended over 40 years ago. They continue to maim and kill in a country that is struggling to develop.
The title “FFE” is the technical acronym used to identify munitions from which explosives have been removed and thus deemed safe. This concept has been expanded to apply to all aspects of daily life, where the presence of these deadly remnants of war will no longer be the norm.
From 9-12 November 2010, Lao PDR had the honour of hosting the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This was a defining moment in the life of the Convention, which bans the use of the weapon and requires countries that ratify it to clear affected areas, destroy stockpiles, and assist victims.
The intent of this exhibition was to emphasize the positive impact the Convention would have on the future of Lao PDR. With strong implementation, a new atmosphere would be created ultimately enabling people to enjoy a life free from the barriers posed by these horrific weapons.
This exhibition was a collaborative effort between the Government of Lao PDR, the French Embassy in Vientiane, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) and Tracie Williams. These images were displayed in an outdoor exhibition in the gardens of the French Cultural Centre in Vientiane, Lao PDR during the Convention. Text was displayed in all three languages: Lao, French, and English.
I am a street and social documentary photographer currently based in New York City. Over the past year, I have been working on a long-term documentary project on Occupy Wall Street titled "Love and Rage". Prior to braving the streets of the big apple, I lived overseas for 10 years. I called Melbourne, Australia home for 8 years and spent the latter 2 volunteering and freelancing for humanitarian NGO’s in Laos. During my time there I worked on a personal photo project titled "Broken Bodies, Broken Hearts" (which began in 2007) documenting the impact of the CIA led Secret War waged on Laos. Despite the war ending over 30 years ago, the unexploded bombs that litter the landscape still continue to kill and maim approximately 300 people annually.
To license this work for editorial, creative, or other uses, click on the OZMO logo above.
This will take you to the Ozmo website where you can review the cost and license for the photographs in this exhibit.
You will need to create an account with both Amazon payments and with the Ozmo website as described on the Ozmo website.
Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC)
COPE (Cooperative Orthotic Prosthetic Enterprise)
Handicap International - Laos & Belgium
m: USA +1 415 217 9831