who survived accidents
Many landmine activists are themselves survivors of landmine accidents.
Their inspiring stories have encouraged others to join them in their
efforts to help landmine survivors get proper assistance, and to ban
landmines from the earth.
Ghulam Mohammad: A Deminer (Link goes to Mine Clearance)
||Jerry White is co-founder and director of the Landmine Survivors
Network (LSN), an organization dedicated to meeting the growing
needs of mine victims around the world. LSN is the first international
organization created by survivors for survivors. It arranged
and hosted the August 1997 visit by Diana, Princess of Wales,
to Bosnia to raise awareness of the plight of mine victims and
Jerry White was a student at Hebrew University in Jerusalem
when he stepped on a mine in April 1984. He was hiking with
friends at the time. He spent five months in a hospital in Tel
Aviv, where he underwent five operations and learned to walk
with a prosthesis.
Here is part of his testimony:
“I was twenty years old. I had taken
time from my university studies in the United States to explore
the Middle East. I wasn't a soldier. I was armed with only a backpack
and an Arabic and Hebrew dictionary. Two friends and I had decided
to explore northern Israel on a hiking trip. We were looking for
a place to camp and had no idea that we had entered a minefield.
There was no fence and no sign to keep us out. The next morning,
on a beautiful spring day, I stepped on a mine. I can still remember
the deafening blast and the smell of blood, burnt flesh and metal.
Only when my friends rolled me over did they see the extent of my
wounds. The explosion had ripped off my right foot, shrapnel had
lacerated my skin, and my left leg was open and raw--with a bone
sticking out of my calf. We screamed for help but it seemed that
no one but God could hear. Either I would bleed to death, or my
friends would have to carry me out of the minefield. Luckily we
made it out without further loss.”
Before founding LSN with Ken Rutherford in 1995, Jerry White was Assistant
Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control and Editor
of 'Risk Report', an award-winning publication. His speeches, testimonies,
interviews and written commentary in the media around the world (including
in the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal) have
built support for international efforts to inhibit the spread of weapons
of mass destruction, including landmines.
LSN was created to help the hundreds of thousands of innocent and
often impoverished victims of landmines who live in more than 60
countries. Simple chores can become herculean tasks to someone with
no arms or legs. In war-ravaged countries, most mine amputess struggle
simply to survive. Many can no longer find work and cannot afford
to buy crutches, wheelchairs and artificial limbs. Survivors are
often ostracized and are denied proper medical care. The sad fact
of life for most landmine survivors is that they rarely return to
normal lives. LSN's goal is to provide landmine survivors with the
rehabilitation they need to become productive members of their communities.