You know its a good dinner conversation when we break into European History thru revolutions and wars. Shouldn’t be much of a surprise since in our spare time we also look up who the last King of the Austro-Hungarian empire was.
But this evening Krizu alerted me to something I actually had no clue about and am quite shocked to learn: They are de-mining Belgium from World War 1! I repeat.. WWI (1914 to 1918), there are still mines scattered about certain parts of Belgium that were put there around 90 years ago!?
This isn’t just a matter of fascinating tidbits of knowledge, this about a terrible war, so long ago, still able to claim victims. Apparently the Belgian army has a whole specific unit dedicated to finding these last land-mines. Obviously I now want to meet these guys, they must have amazing stories.
Beyond this I didn’t realize, and she pointed out, that only a few hours south, down there in Belgium, there are still plenty of old trenches and craters in the earth leftover from WWI. Why am I surprised? I guess I expected everything, beyond the occasional memorial or museum, to be cleaned up, renovated, built upon… in effect.. erased.
This gets me to thinking of other wars, including the current occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. What about the landmines? (several nations, including the US, refuse to stop using them) Or even the craters. How many generations later will still see these scars and live with the risk of potentially blowing up because of a landmine left behind, for another war that allegedly will end all war (or terror).