Walk in peace: banish landmines from our globeBMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7120.1456 (Published 29 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1456
- Eoin O'Brien, consultant cardiologist
- a Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical School, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
In Memoriam: Diana, Princess of Wales
The sun, deepest red at first then shimmering to gold rising over the hills of the plains, casts the father, his young son, and their dog into black relief against the sky brightening gently, imperceptibly, and reluctantly, from the dark of night to the gold of dawn. Their silhouettes slowly emerge from the darkness; the tall gaunt figure of the father, staff in one hand, a sackbag over his shoulder, the boy hopping lightly beside him holding his other hand, and the dog gambolling along between them. The father and his son are clothed scantily, both are barefoot, and their skeletal transparency betrays the hardship of chronic malnutrition. Yet the figures carry a dignity, an almost biblical majesty, as they move gracefully on their way. They are heading for a small plot from which they eke a frugal existence, that is when the crop does not fail, or war and strife does not force them to move onwards. But an uneasy stability in their region has allowed them to make this journey to their plot daily for some years.
A movement ahead attracts the dog, which darts suddenly from the man and boy to chase a field rat. The morning sky is rent with red as the body of the dog is sundered against the blueness, and the morning stillness of the plain is shattered by the blast. Before the father can react to the danger he knows so well, his son is running from the path to save his beloved dog and another ghastly blast rents the air. The father in anguish rushes headlong towards his boy, who lies moaning where he has been …