Tuesday, January 21, 2020

It’s Time to Ban the Use of Landmines :: Argumentative Persuasive Essays

It’s Time to Ban the Use of Landmines      Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   El Salvador, 6 April 1992--Three siblings died near the Guazapa volcano last weekend when they stepped on a mine planted during the period of civil warfare. Ironically, their parents had returned to the area only a few days earlier. The children were four, six and eight years old. Parts from the three children's bodies were found as far as 30 metres from the explosion site. (qtd. in Grant 25)    Antipersonnel landmines kill thousands of people every year. Antipersonnel landmines do not recognize a cease-fire; they continue killing or maiming for many years after the conflict is over. Antipersonnel landmines do not discriminate between soldiers or civilians. On the contrary, more and more they are being used in an indiscriminate way, terrorizing civilians and transforming agricultural fields into killing fields. In addition, de-mining is a very slow and very expensive process, and after a war most countries are not prepared to cope with the constant health care demands imposed by the number of injured by landmines. Finally, landmines make it very difficult for refugees to go back to their cities and villages. As response to the landmine problem, the international community has come up with a treaty to ban landmines. On March 1, 1999, the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty came into effect; so far 134 countries have signed the treaty. Unfortunately, the U. S. is not one of them.    The Encarta Encyclopedia defines a landmine as "an encased explosive device that is concealed below the surface of the ground." It can be made of "metal, plastic, glass, or wood" (n. p.). Probably the concept of landmines is almost as old as the existence of organized armies. Philip C. Winslow, in his book Sowing the Dragon's Teeth, describes how Roman soldiers, before the beginning of the first millennium, used a plant with spikes as a landmine in order "to delay pursuers" (126). The Chinese, according to Delbruck, used "ground mines" made out of explosives in the year 1232 (qtd. in Winslow 126). Six hundred years later, in 1840, the use of landmines was introduced in the United States; they were used "in large quantities" during the Civil War (Winslow 126, 127).

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