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activistS 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.

Jerry White
Ghulam Mohammad: A Deminer (Link goes to Mine Clearance)

Jerry White

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 their families.

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.


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