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Country with people or land with mines
anchal kakroo | 05 Aug 2009

The article is a personal opinion on the issue of landmine cleaning which lead to 144 countries signing the Mine Ban Treaty.

THIS IS my country and I will not let it fall. I am a soldier who has pledged to protect this country no matter how many enemies I have to face. Is this the thought which every soldier has in his mind when he stands on guard? The world saw many battles and as time has progressed so have the tools of these battles. From an age of bow and arrow we have reached the doorsteps of nuclear war. Weapons may have changed but the strategies still see a hint of time in them. Nothing is complete without its opposite side. Some may call it Yin-Yang, some call it negative-positive. For some it simply means good and bad. The same goes with war.

War is not only about the attack but also defense. You cannot win a war if you cannot defend yourself. Over a period of time countries have spent millions and millions on improving their defense. Themillions that have been spent till now have started to pay off. The world is slowly becoming a bomb. Man invented mines so that they could check the entry of armies from other countries into their country. We did remember to install mines all around the ground but why do we forget to remove them once their work is done. This care-a-damn attitude has converted the two countries into war grounds. It took Afghanistan eight years to clean up a mine-infested area of 146sq km and still they has 713sq km of land left. According to research and surveys, 20000 people either lose their life or are maimed annually as a result of mines. Is this price you have to pay to protect your country? Is this how we plan to protect overselves. In 1997, 144 countries may have signed the Mine Ban Treaty but many other nations have declined to do so. India has also deployed over 2 million mines all across its border under Operation Parakram. USA and China have also refused to become signatories. Why do we need mines?

The excuse of protection has grown old and stale. When will governments realise that mines don't protect; rather they create an invisible cage. You can look, smell and hear things out of this cage but you can never cross it. The day you try to cross it, you will either die or your life will become worse than death itself. Afghanistan is not the only country that has suffered. In total, 83 countries have been affected by landmines. Nearly 400,000 people die or maimed by land mines all around the world. Countries like Iraq, Lagos, Cambodia, Columbia, Angola, Chechnya, Burundi and Congo have suffered and still are suffering. Another new name to join these countries is Sri Lanka. What are we doing? Shouldn?t we be trying to reduce these land mines? Even if we are then I must say we are not pushing in the right direction. If we were then Sri Lanka would not have joined this list of names.It is time we need to realize what really want to protect. If it is the land then I say we should continue with what we have been doing till now but if we truly want to protect the country then we need to think about protecting its people. No land is called a country if it has no people on it. The land does not create a country and country does not create people. It is the people who create the country which stands proud on the land on which its people flourish and grown.