Friday, October 17, 2014

With so much bad news in the world 
"It feels good to pass along a success story, and not a tragedy."
- Chuck Searcy

Enjoying lunch in their dining room, these toddlers never knew that a deadly threat had just been removed from their kindergarten grounds.

Cam Lo, Quang Tri, Viet Nam (14 October 2014) – 

One of Project RENEW’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams yesterday took action to safely remove a piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO) from a kindergarten attended by 150 toddlers in Cam Lo Ha Village of Cam Thanh Commune.  RENEW’s quick response came immediately after a Youth Union official called the Project RENEW hotline number and reported the discovery.

“We have already received five reports of UXO sightings today,” said EOD Team Leader Le Xuan Tung, “but this case is the most urgent because the ordnance was inside the grounds of the kindergarten.  So our team had to get there as our first priority, and we will deal with other reports later on today.”

Earlier the deputy head of the Youth Union in the commune, Nguyen Thanh Hieu, was alerted by the kindergarten’s principal, Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong, that a bomb had been found in the preschool’s garden.  Hieu, a member of RENEW’s Community Reporting Network made up of Youth Union officials, has been trained on basic UXO identification skills.  When he determined the type of UXO he called the RENEW team immediately.

About half an hour later, the EOD team arrived at the kindergarten where Hieu was waiting to pinpoint the UXO location for them.

Nguyen Thanh Hieu showing RENEW EOD Team Leader Le Xuan Tung the
artillery shell 
 found in the kindergarten’s garden. 

“It is a 100mm artillery shell which had been here for years,” Team Leader Le Xuan Tung said.  “Torrential rains in the past few days exposed it,” he explained, “and we have now removed it to our central demolition site for later destruction.”

It is not uncommon to find UXO in schools in Quang Tri Province.  In January 2010, there was thunderous crack from an 
 ordnance explosion in the playground of a middle school. The blast occurred just five minutes before recess, when more than 500 students were scheduled to take a break from their studies. 

The ordnance, identified later as a 105mm artillery shell, had been hidden for years under the roots of a large tree stump only 20 meters away from the nearest classroom.  Fortunately, nobody was hurt by the powerful explosion, which resounded throughout the neighborhood, but the windows of the school were shattered.

The safe removal of the UXO from the kindergarten in Cam Lo may have saved the lives of some of the 150 toddlers and teachers nearby.  People like Ms. Hong, the kindergarten principal, and Youth Union volunteer Hieu are truly the “eyes and ears” of RENEW’s EOD teams.  

When such alerts are relayed by them, the EOD teams know exactly what type of ordnance has been found, where it is located, and the urgency required for their response.  They waste no time in searching. They prioritize their responses and take direct action, within minutes or hours.

From January to September 2014, Project RENEW received 346 reports of UXO discoveries through the Community Reporting Network, resulting in 565 items of UXO being safely destroyed.

Click here for a permanent link to the story. 

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Project RENEW
Kids First Village
185 Ly Thuong Kiet
Dong Ha City, Quang Tri Province


International Advisor
Project RENEW
M    +8 490 342 0769
Sk   chucksearcy

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Beginning of a university students' Anti-Vietnam War march outside Michigan Stadium on Greene Street, Ann Arbor, September 20, 1969. (Photo: Wystan)

Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:51By Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis

For many years after the Vietnam War, we enjoyed the "Vietnam syndrome," in which US presidents hesitated to launch substantial military attacks on other countries. They feared intense opposition akin to the powerful movement that helped bring an end to the war in Vietnam. But in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, George H.W. Bush declared, "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!"
With George W. Bush's wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and Barack Obama's drone wars in seven Muslim-majority countries and his escalating wars in Iraq and Syria, we have apparently moved beyond the Vietnam syndrome. By planting disinformation in the public realm, the government has built support for its recent wars, as it did with Vietnam.

Now the Pentagon is planning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War by launching a $30 million program to rewrite and sanitize its history. Replete with a fancy interactive website, the effort is aimed at teaching schoolchildren a revisionist history of the war. The program is focused on honoring our service members who fought in Vietnam. But conspicuously absent from the website is a description of the antiwar movement, at the heart of which was the GI movement...
It is no cliché that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. Unless we are provided an honest accounting of the disgraceful history of the US war on Vietnam, we will be ill equipped to protest the current and future wars conducted in our name.

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