Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Today I’m going to discuss something that we’re all sadly familiar with… clusterbombs. We know what they are; explosives that release smaller bombs, or “bomblets.” They are designed to blow up armored vehicles, buildings, roads, power lines, start fires, scatter landmines, and disperse chemical/biological weapons. The human suffering these weapons cause is unbelievable. In their immediate impact they cause indiscriminate death, destruction of infrastructure, and unexploded clusterbombs can kill people well after the conflict is over.  According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, there are over one million unexploded weapons like these in Lebanon due to the July 2006 war.

Yet, there is more.

We tend to think of clusterbombs as being dangerous only if they blow up. That isn’t true. These bombs contaminate agricultural land and water. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 25% Lebanese cultivated agricultural land has been contaminated by unexploded clusterbombs. As such, our fruits and vegetables and water are contaminated by cluster-chemicals. This contamination causes severe health problems, not the least of which are cancer, circulatory problems, skin problems, behavior problems, hormonal imbalances, and sterility.

 Nor is this the only problem. Unexploded submunitions hinder reconstruction efforts, which also decrease the standard of living and cause health problems. Think about it. If we are too scared to repair the damaged infrastructure (understandably so, as we’re afraid to blow up), then those who live in these neighborhoods continue to live in areas where water-wells and filters are not functional, where they cannot have easy access to roads, do not have access to hospitals, health care, and more. To this date only 131,115 out of over 1,000,000 unexploded submunitions had been cleared so far.

Lebanon, this is a pressing problem. Although we signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008 and ratified it in 2010, we still have many clusterbombs in our land. This has severe consequences for us. It is time for us to advocate for their immediate removal, for both our safety and our health. We can do it, Lebanon!!!

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