Land Mine Museum

One of the scourges of our time--along with genocide, torture, and constant war--is the heavy use of land mines.  These are gifts that keep on giving:  misery.  Land mines, together with unexploded bombs, have accounted for hundreds of thousands of deaths over the past few decades, and thousands of deaths each year


Outside Siem Reap (home of Angkor Wat) there is a land mine museum

Aki Ra was a soldier with the Khmer Rouge.  He defected in 1987 and joined the Vietnamese army and in 1989 the Cambodian National Army.

He placed thousands of land mines, but later reflected on how much misery they caused, and was trained by the UN as a deminer.  He estimates that he has cleared more than 50,000 land mines and unexploded bombs.

He began systematically collecting material, with which he populated a museum, now a mind-boggling archive of death and destruction.




As you walk the entry path, you're struck with the authenticity of the collection




from both sides of the cold war



The centerpiece is this enclosed gazebo, containing thousands of artifacts of munitions



and a display of army camps



Thousands of people are killed every year from their encounters with unexploded ordnance (UXOs).  This is true especially in eastern Cambodia and Laos, which both suffered from extensive bombing during the American War of Aggression against Vietnam.



As an American, I'm shamed by the absence of my country on this list



and shamed by its presence on this one



But along the entry path to this museum--along with the grim reminders of carnage--is this whimsical creation, evidence of indomitable human spirit

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