January 2009 Newsletter – Laos Joins Over 90 Countries to Sign International Treaty to Ban Cluster Bombs

Posted: Jan 1, 2009

Legacies of War

Legacies of War was created to raise awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing in Laos, to provide space for healing the wounds of war and to create greater hope for a future of peace.
News and Events January 2009
Laos joins over 90 countries to sign international treaty to ban cluster bombs
By Titus Peachey, MCC Staff & Legacies Board Member
Oslo, Norway: Ta Douangcham, ban advocate from Khammouan, Province, Laos and Titus Peachey of Mennonite Central Committee at the International Convention on Cluster Munitions Treaty signing to ban cluster bombs (Dec 2009). 
Oslo, Norway: Ta Douangcham, ban advocate from Khammouane Province,
Laos and Titus Peachey of Mennonite Central Committee at the Int’l Convention on Cluster Munitions Treaty, which over 90 signed to ban cluster bombs. 


Thirty-five years ago, somewhere in the country of Laos, the last cluster bomb from a nine-year U.S. air war fell to the ground. It may still be there, hidden somewhere in the soil awaiting a farmer’s hoe or the curious touch of a child. But if it was paying attention in early December, 2008, it would have been astounded to learn that 94 countries gathered in Oslo, Norway, to declare that they would no longer produce, sell, or use cluster bombs. Once the treaty goes into effect, this cluster bomb which has been inhumane and indiscriminate from the time it was first designed, will finally become illegal.
The route to banning cluster bombs has been a long journey. Since cluster bombs were first used on a mass scale in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, they have been the subject of controversy. Laos was the most heavily bombed country, suffering the infestation of more than 260 million cluster bomblets. Most experts conclude that roughly 30% failed to explode, which means millions were left in the soil at the end of the war. However, due to political isolation and the lack of available technical expertise, the problem did not receive much international attention. More on International Ban
Relevant articles & links:


UXO Lao video for Oslo Convention



Forty years on, Lao reaps bitter harvest of secret war

Archival documents from Walt Haney on Lao Bombing Refugees  

Boston College Film & Lecture Series:The Secret War in Laos and the Continuing Tragedy of Cluster Bombs

Two of the previous lectures and films in the series have incuded Jack Silberman’s Bombies and Marc Eberle’s The Most Secret Place on Earth: The CIA’s Secret War in Laos. Lectures include Fred Branfman on Why the U.S. Secret War in Laos Matters So Much Today and Walt Haney and Phitsamay S. Uy. Check our website for the next event this spring.
Fred, Walt, Roger
Fred Branfman, Walt Haney and Roger Warner at the Boston College Lecture and Film Series sponsored by the Lynch School of Education, Boston College Asian Caucus and Legacies of War.
War, Memory, and Representation in Art: Burma, Korea, Laos, Vietnam
Panelists: Kyi May Kaung, Channapha Khamvongsa, Annabel Park and Huong.
Wednesday, Jan 28th, 7pm to 9pm
Peace Mural Foundation & Gallery
3336 M Street NW (Georgetown)
Washington, DC  20007 



Legacies’ potential sites for 2009:

Legacies of War is exploring the possibilty of bringing our exhibit and programs to the following cities in 2009:


Seattle – All year 

San Diego – April
San Francisco – April
Chicago – Summer
St. Paul/Minneapolis – Fall


Please contact us if you’d like to help us in these cities. We are looking for funding support and volunteers to join our local planning committee.


New DC Office!
We have a new office in Washington, DC.
Legacies of War
3233 M Street
Washington, DC  20007 

Internships Available in Washington, DC

Project Specialists


Please donate to:
Legacies of War
Make checks payable to Public Interest Projects, our fiscal sponsor and send to:
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Seattle youth bringing it “Back to the Homeland” 
The weather in Seattle on December 16th was cold, rainy, and on the verge of one the biggest snow storms the city would have in decades, but it didn’t deter nearly 100 people, mostly youths, from attending the “Back to the Homeland” event, co-hosted by Legacies of War, the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), TeAda Productions, and the Southeast Asian Men’s Group.
It was warm and spirited inside the ACRS gym, where the youth-lead event showcased Spoken Word Presentations by high school students Johnny Chhonn, Borie Seng, and Soukry Sop; a short film called “I am American” produced by the Southeast Asian Men’s Group; and special guest performance of Refugee Nation. The performances by the youths highlighted the connection they have to their roots and the empowerment drawn from that. 

 Homeland Group 1
Supporters who came out for the event were all smiles despite the weather.
The Legacies of War mini-exhibit was also on display and stimulated discussions amongst the crowd. Eight year old Malee Phavong, who attended the event with dad,  Dave, and sisters Vyla, 10, and Sudee 6, asked, “Why are there bombs in Laos? And what can I do to help?” All three sisters signed up on our mailing list.
The Masters of Ceremony, Jordan Amorisan, a Laotian-American sophomore at Franklin High School choked up when

introducing the event as something the young people “want to do, to understand their heritage, and not forget about it.” Overall, the consensus amongst the youths was that this was an ‘intense’ and amazing event that made them proud to be who they are.

Seattle continues to be one of our priority cities in growing Legacies’ educational and advocacy programs. For 2009, in addition to our continuing partnership with ACRS, we will work with Wing Luke Asian Museum to expand our high school curriculum, bring Refugee Nation and continue to work with other local organizations to help strengthen the capacity of Laotian Americans to advocate on the issue of cluster bombs and other issues of importance to them.
Brush monks
Emcee, Jordan Amorisan, of Franklin High School and Sakuna Thongchanh of Legacies.

 Homeland performance
Spoken word by young people was the event’s highlight.

Homeland Audience
Eight-year-old Malee Phavong, and sisters Vyla, 10, and Sudee 6 joined the event with their father and ACRS staff.
Homeland RN 
The audience was captivated by the Refugee Nation special performance. 

Homeland Joseph & students

ACRS counselor, Joseph Miller, with members of the Southeast Asian Men’s Group.

Category: Newsletters