From left, cluster bomb survivors Branislav Kapetanovic, Soraj Habib, and Berihu Mesele celebrate the cluster bomb ban treaty with landmine survivor Tun Channareth in May 2008. Mary Wareham, ANZ Cluster Muntion Coalit
New MCC U.S. resources on cluster bombs available
August 6, 2009
A new documentary, From Harm to Hope: Standing with Cluster Bomb Survivors, and an accompanying study guide are the latest tools in the advocacy work of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. in banning the production and use of cluster bombs.
The large-scale use of cluster bombs began in 1964, and their impact continues long after wars end because the weapons often fail to explode on impact as designed. These small bombs, or "bombies" as they are sometimes called, continue to detonate around the world in fields and other places, shattering the lives of people who accidentally trigger them. MCC's work with villagers in Laos in the 1970s helped bring this tragedy to the world's attention.
The documentary tells the story of the movement to ban cluster bombs through the experiences of survivors such as Raed Modaled of Lebanon and Phounsy Phasavaeng of Laos, as well as through the voices of activists and MCC partners and staff members who help cluster bomb survivors.
The study guide includes Bible studies and exercises to look at the spiritual and ethical issues related to cluster bomb use. Although there is a lesson for adults, several lessons were designed specifically for youth groups.
Emily Wise, 15, of Denver, Pa., who went to the Mennonite Church USA youth convention in July, attended a workshop about cluster bombs. She said, "I was surprised by how many bombs, millions even, were dropped and not detonated."
Wise said she was deeply affected by the DVD, and has been thinking about what it could mean to work in peace-building and development. She will tell others to see it because, "so many innocent civilians are being hurt even 35 years later. The long-term effects of war are not very fair."
This DVD and study guide, available in English and Spanish, are part of the MCC U.S. advocacy campaign that includes learning, writing and donating. MCC U.S. distributes copies of the DVD, From Harm to Hope, as well as another DVD called Bombies, photo exhibits and bulletin inserts to help people learn about the issue.
Donations will fund services to cluster bomb survivors in Laos and Lebanon and support advocacy efforts in the U.S. Donate online at mcc.org or mail your contribution to MCC, designated "cluster bomb advocacy."
In addition, MCC U.S. has a cluster bomb postcard campaign and sample letters for writing to government officials, encouraging them to support U.S. legislation (S 416/HR 981) restricting cluster bomb use, and the international ban on cluster bomb production and use which has now been signed by 98 countries. The U.S. is not one of the signers.
For information on how to purchase, borrow or preview these items, visit mcc.org/clusterbombs 
Cathryn Clinton is a writer for Mennonite Central Committee