Under the Blue Sky

Fuyuko Mochizuki
Mitama Middle School

Look everyone! I'm so happy now because I can stand here with my own legs. Sadly however, hter are many unifortunate people who can't stand using their own legs. And one of the causes is landmines

As you may know, a landmine is a brutual weapon buried under the ground. If you step on it , it will instantly explode with terrible consequences. The are planted during wars but rarely are they remuved, even after the end of hte war.

In May thes year, my brother went over th Afghanistan with colleagues to develop and test an land mine removing machine. I was really worried abount him and began to think abount this brutual weapon more closely.

During sumer, my brouther flew back to Japan for a short time and told me about Afghanistan. He said Afghanistan in the old days was called "the paradise fo the Orient". The famous Silk Road stretched across the country and the people lived affluently through growing crops and farming. And yet, all of a sudden, the war began in Afghanistan, completely changing the peaceful country into the most desolate land littered with landmines. Not only had a war begun but very little rain had fallen so many crops perished. No, I couldn't see any of "the paradise" in the photos which my vreother took. He said now, people just like us, are physically and emothionally suffering, with legs and arms horribly wrenched off and eyes burnt by the heat of landmine explosions.

Why,? Why are mines buried? Why do we use them? I can't tell you the precise number of mines and no one know exactly where they are. Nevertheless, if there's a likelihood of a mine or two, the land will never be safe and also peace and trust will disappear from the pleple for good.

I found a picture book "Not Mines, But Flowers", which tells of an important message about the pain and suffering when landmines explode. Though this book, I can hear the screams of the victims of more than 70 landmine countries in the world. The screams of pain and sorrow. Not only from the victimes themselves, but from their dad, mum, brothers, sisters, children and friends. Everybody's crying. How can we live our lives in such contentment when so many people are suffering? Thanks to the book's drawings and simple messages, even I could understand that our earth needs flowers. Not mines, but flowers.

My brother is now working in Cambodia to save the victimes of mines and assist its removers. Like him, I want to understand more about the world. Once I have understood more, then I'd like to think about how I can help others.

Under the blue sky, I wish for flowers to return to the soil of Afghanistan.

(1-22 Speech in 56th Contest, 2004)

(C)JNSA FUND/the Yomiuri Shimbun

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