CULTURE

Exhibition on land-mine terror

Long after they have ended, wars continue to have devastating effects on the lives of innocent people. It is estimated that around 20,000 people worldwide are victimized each year by land mines – war’s «open wounds» – which can remain active for decades. The signing of the Ottawa Convention, the mine ban treaty, in 1997 has played a crucial role in decreasing the number of land-mine victims and banning anti-personnel mines. Since then, 153 countries have signed and ratified the convention. Organized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the convention, «Halfway – Bosnia a Decade After,» which is the title of a photography exhibition on the subject of land-mine victims in Bosnia, sensitizes the public to what is a crucial political and humanitarian matter. The photographs are the work of Australian photojournalist John Rodsted (official photographer to the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines and part of the team that won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize), and are on display at the Syntagma metro station. The exhibition is organized by the Australian Embassy in Athens (Australia is the president of this year’s Mine Ban Convention meeting) in collaboration with the Canadian and the Norwegian embassies and Hellenic Aid. The photographs were taken as part of the Norwegian People’s Aid project in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Portraits of pain It is a disturbing and heart-wrenching exhibition that documents in a realistic way the effects of land mines on people’s lives. The portraits of disabled people, many of them children, are devastating. Lengthy captions tell about the real, dramatic stories of the victims depicted. Bosnia is held to be one of the most severely affected countries with more than 670,000 active land mines on its territory. The removal of land mines is estimated to require decades to complete. Angola, Cambodia, Sudan and Mozambique are among the 50 other countries which are still suffering the devastating effects of land mines. Rodsted has traveled to most of those troubled areas and documented the plight. His work has been exhibited in the United Nations in Geneva, the Royal Photographic Society and the Capital Building in Washington, DC. The exhibition will be open through next Wednesday. On that same day, a public discussion on the issue of the mine ban will be held at the Hotel Grande Bretagne (7 p.m.). The event is organized by the three embassies along with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy. Craig Maclachlan, deputy permanent representative for disarmament and deputy to the president of the Mine Ban Convention, as well as Per Neegard, director of Mine Action Norwegian People’s Aid, a non-governmental organization, will visit Athens to participate in the discussion. Info: www.norway.gr, www.athens.gc.ca, www.ausaid.gov.au)