This Site applauds the Tory Government for helping rid the world of landmines – and for a good reason

More than 20 years ago, Diana, Princess of Wales walked through a minefield to highlight the danger they pose. Today, they are STILL a threat. This Site supports any activity that helps end that threat.

It’s more than 20 years since Diana, Princess of Wales walked through a live minefield in Angola in January 1997 to highlight the threat posed by landmines and minefields.

This Writer cannot do anything other than support the Conservative Government’s plan to invest £100 million in ridding the world of landmines altogether by 2025 – although I notice that this is a three-year scheme and Prince Harry reckons an extra £100 million is needed every year to meet that deadline.

Still, every little helps.

And if you’re wondering why I feel duty-bound to support the project, it’s because I walked through a live minefield myself, less than three months after the Princess.

In fact, I more sort of ran through it.

And I didn’t have any of the precautionary advantages she enjoyed.

It was in Bosnia-Herzegovina, during Easter 1997. I was there as a reporter, covering charity efforts to restore the country after the war between the countries that used to comprise the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is listed as having “massive” landmine contamination today, almost exactly 20 years later. That’s more than 100 square kilometres of minefields, and it is a very small country.

While I was there, I could see the minesweepers up on the hills every day. We were all warned to stay on safe paths.

I certainly intended to, on my last full day in the country. But it was also the first sunny day of the trip and the only day I didn’t have anything solid on my schedule, so I decided to walk along the main road to a nearby village where members of the team I was shadowing were working.

All went well for a good few miles, until I passed one particular farmhouse, with one particularly ferocious-looking dog.

I saw him; he saw me – and the race was on.

Some of you might be sceptical about this; I can’t outrun a fit dog in the prime of its life, after all.

This is true, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking about getting over a nearby gate and into the field beyond, and hoping that the hound wouldn’t follow.

It didn’t. It just stopped at the gate and watched me run.

After a while I realised this, reasoning that it should have caught up with me. Checking behind me confirmed that I was no longer being pursued.

So I reoriented myself to get back onto the main road (via a gap in the hedge) and carried on at a more leisurely pace.

It was only after I had climbed out of the field that I saw a big sign, carrying the same message in many different languages – that this was an uncleared minefield.

I have no idea how I managed to get out of it in one piece but I consider myself to have been both extremely lucky and extremely stupid. And I learned from my mistake.

So, in acknowledgement that my own escape was extremely unlikely and that many, many people are still endangered by this hidden menace, I can only voice support for Prince Harry, the HALO Trust, the Mines Advisory Group and even Priti Patel – in this endeavour.

The UK government is investing £100m in a plan – backed by Prince Harry – to rid the world of landmines by 2025.

International development secretary Priti Patel said the three-year aid package would tackle the “global scourge” of unexploded landmines.

Speaking at Kensington Palace, Ms Patel said it would help 800,000 people.

Prince Harry said the government had demonstrated “bold commitment” in pledging the money, but that “there is much more that needs to be done”.

He is supporting a bid by anti-landmine charities the HALO Trust and Mines Advisory Group to eradicate the explosives within eight years, following in the footsteps of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

He said it would take an additional £100m each year until 2025 to rid the world of landmines – “the cost of a star signing for some professional football team”.

Source: UK invests £100m in bid for landmine-free world by 2025 – BBC News

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11 thoughts on “This Site applauds the Tory Government for helping rid the world of landmines – and for a good reason

  1. Jt Zoonie

    What of the arms and ordanaces the British government has sold for years to anyone with money

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      What of them? I’m not condoning that. You’ll know from experience of This Site that I don’t approve.
      Are you saying we should not support the UK government in efforts to promote peace and end the legacy of previous wars?
      Are you suggesting we should tacitly support its supply of weapons and other materials of war to others, by not supporting efforts to promote peace and end the legacy of previous wars?
      I don’t think you are.

  2. joanna

    Much as I like the Idea of no more landmines, wouldn’t that money be better spent on the human rights crisis in this country! Too many people have died here already!!! Whilst more people are due to suffer I can’t care about landmines!

      1. joanna

        I understand and that sounds quite horrific and really brave! But this government needs to get this country sorted out, it would be better if they could do both! Either way lives would be saved!

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        As I stated in the article, it was really stupid – not brave at all.
        There is plenty of money available for the government to do both. Look at the billions the Tories give away in tax cuts for the rich and corporations.

      3. Barry Davies

        The problem would be that whilst minefields are being cleared somewhere in the world more are being created, it is a nice idea to rid the world by a specific time, but highly unlikely it can be achieved.

  3. Paul Grayshan

    …. To say nothing of stumping up – £382 million is it? – to repair Buck House?

  4. Neilth

    Making things safe in other countries IS benefiting the U.K. Fear, unemployment, poverty, physical danger, medical issues and dismemberment are powerful drivers to mass migration and asylum seeking. Making things safe in foreign states improves their economic wellbeing and increases their purchasing power for UK made goods and services thus, again, benefiting the UK.

    The myopic little englanders who echo the UKIP mantra against foreign aid do not understand the 21st Century fact that we live in an interconnected world where what damages our neighbours is likely to have negative impacts here. They hark back to the 19th century when Britain ruled the waves and enriched itself at the expense of the colonies by plundering them of anything that wasn’t screwed down (and a lot that was).

    By the way the dog seemed to have more sense than you Mike. It read the signs.

Comments are closed.