What is the most heavily bombed country in History?

A country that never formally entered a war, Laos.

SYNOPSIS

The Remnants
an astonishing journey in the legacy of war

The Remnants documentary film is expected to be released in spring 2017. In this website you will find informations, materials and insights about our work. Our first mission in Laos was in january 2014, the second in may-june 2015, the third in november 2016.

The Remnants is a journey into the contradictions of today’s wars, in which the remains of the conflict always outlive the conflict itself. It is a journey into the culture and spirituality of a people that manages to incorporate good and evil, construction and destruction, and to convert killing objects into handy tools to tackle everyday life.

Between 1964 and 1973, during the Vietnam war, the American air force carried out over 500.000 bombing missions over Laos, dropping more than 2 million tons of explosives over the country.

Forty years later, everything has changed in Laos, but people’s lives are still deeply affected by the omnipresence of war remnants, scattered in cultivated fields, forests, villages and even cities.

The unexploded ordnance (UXO) now represents a danger and a resource : the bombs that have made, since the end of the war, more than 22.000 victims, have been transformed into troughs for animals, water tanks, flower pots, fences, scales, mothproof columns for traditional stilt houses. The bombers’ fuel tanks are still turned into boats, projectiles become anvils for traditional forge shops, all kinds of metal are converted into utensils or building material for industrial foundries.

IMAGES

The pictures contained in these galleries where taken during our first and second mission in Laos. Our aim was to get in touch with the country reality and people, and to deepen the issues related with the legacy of war: the unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination in many provinces, the recycling and the trade of the metal derived from the bombs, Laos people’s relationship with the dreadful experience of the greatest bombing in history.
We want to thanks all the people and organizations that supported our work in these missions: National Regulatory Authority for UXO/MineUXO LAONorwegian People’s Aid staff, Handicap International staff, Mine Advisory Group, and our great guides and interpeters, Sai and Nouds Phetrasy.

Photo of “Uxo Life” gallery by Claudio Sica

THE AUTHORS

Riccardo Russo
Riccardo Russo

Riccardo Russo

Director

He is an internationally recognized documentarist, holding a PhD in Human Geography and a specialization in Communication for Human Rights.

In 2005 he co-founded with Paolo Barberi the Association of researchers and filmmakers Esplorare la Metropoli.

He realized researches and documentaries concerning socio-environmental issues and human rights, with a particular focus on indigenous populations, in Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America and Europe.

His works were broadcast on several televisions world-wide and in theaters.

Paolo Barberi
Paolo Barberi

Paolo Barberi

Director

Anthropologist and documentarist, he started his audiovisual career at the Laboratory of Visual Anthropology Diego Carpitella of the University La Sapienza in Rome.

He currently works as a teacher and researcher for the University of Ferrara.

He is a founding member, together with Riccardo Russo, of the Association of researchers and filmmakers Esplorare la Metropoli.

Flaminio Cozzaglio
Flaminio Cozzaglio

Flaminio Cozzaglio

Scriptwriter

Graduated in Communication Studies at the University La Sapienza in Rome.

He travelled all around Europe, Central America and Far East focusing his research on the influence of collective memory in the production of contemporary culture.

INSIGHTS

syria cluster bombs - the remnants

Syria’s volunteer sappers

Volunteers in opposition-held areas of Syria are forced to improvise as they carry out one of the world’s most dangerous tasks: dismantling cluster munitions, landmines and explosive booby-traps as they work to make battle-torn areas safe for civilians to return.
The result has been tragic.
Booby-traps laid by the Islamic State group in the Kurdish-held town of Kobani, in northern Syria, have killed more than 20 volunteer sappers in 15 months, according to a senior regional official.
#TheRemnantsToday

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Nelle zone sotto controllo dei ribelli siriani sono dei volontari a farsi carico del compito più rischioso: eliminare bombe a grappolo e mine per rendere sicuro il ritorno dei civili.
Il risultato è tragico.
Solo le mine lasciate dallo Stato Islamico nella città kurda di Kobane hanno ucciso più di 20 volontari in 15 mesi, secondo fonti ufficiali.

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Moto bomba - Douma (Siria)

Art of surviving

Stufe, utensili, strumenti musical, fino all’incredibile moto-bomba. Sono le creazioni di questo artigiano di Douma, un sobborgo di Damasco.
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AO-2.5 RTM cluster bomb

Cluster bombs monitor: Russia

The Russian Federation has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Russia has rarely commented on why it has not joined the ban convention. In its last statement related to the matter in November 2011, Russia argued that cluster munitions play “a very substantive role” and “cannot be abandoned yet” due to their “defensive role.”

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cluster bombs

Cluster bombs monitor: U.S.A.

The United States of America (US) has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
The US used cluster munitions in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam (1960s and 1970s); Grenada and Lebanon (1983); Libya (1986); Iran (1988); Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia (1991); Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995); Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo (1999); Afghanistan (2001 and 2002); and Iraq (2003).

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