Thursday, 6 November 2008

Mines and Land Rovers

I’ve long been an admirer of Land Rovers. I’ve never owned one, or even driven one, I just like the concept of them. I know they have their detractors but they have their defenders – the pun was unavoidable! In Mostar there is at least one, maybe two, royal blue Defender 110s that are used by a mine clearing team. Bosnia Herzegovina is still littered with mines from the conflict and the work of clearing these often unmarked areas continues today. In Michael Palin’s recent New Europe series it was said that in parts of the country it will take a hundred years to finish the job.

Today I was walking into town when I spotted one of these Land Rovers parked on our street. There were people in matching blue overalls standing around. Then I noticed a plot of land where the remains of a ruin were being removed was taped off. I know they still find unexploded bombs from the Second World War in the UK. That there should still be unexploded ordnance a street away from the former frontline of a conflict zone should not be surprising. It is however a new experience for me. It brings the reality of recent history closer to home.

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