In a 1999 article in the New York Times, former president Jimmy Carter made the statement, “The United States' insistence on the use of cluster bombs designed to kill or maim humans is condemned almost universally and brings discredit on our nation. Even for the world's only superpower the ends don't always justify the means.”
From 1964 until 1973, such cluster bombs were dropped by the U.S. on the People's Democratic Republic of Laos during a secret air war. Over the course of nine years, 2 million cluster bombs fell on the small, landlocked Southeast Asian nation, making Laos the most heavily bombed country in history. Worse still is the fact that many of these bombs failed to exploded and remain on Laos, causing them to be just as dangerous now as they were then.
However, little has been said on the matter. On Wednesday, April 16, Paul McNeil '05 and Geneva resident Bouangeone (“B”) Phitaphont Johnson Watt will break the silence with their presentation, “Laos: The Un-Quiet Land” at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room.
McNeil spent a year in Laos following his graduation from HWS. He will discuss his experience living in a quiet, communist country where the people endure constant fear from undetonated bombs.
Watt will chronicle her time as an inhabitant of Laos, from surviving the communist Pathet Lao takeover until her arrival at the home of a retired Geneva couple. A question and answer session with Watt will follow. Laotian food will be served.
McNeil is the Jumpstart site manager at the Colleges in the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. Watt is a nursing student and currently resides in Geneva with her husband and two children.
The event is sponsored by the Human Rights and Genocide Lecture Series.