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Violent Landscape: Global Explosions and Lao Life-Worlds

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2008, 00:00 authored by Holly High
Laos, a small country tucked into the heart of Southeast Asia, seems an unlikely target for the world’s most intensive bombing campaign. But from the 1950s to the 1970s, the U.S. intervened in Laos to combat the local communist forces and to attempt to stop the flow of North Vietnamese
supplies through Lao territory, an intervention prompted by a particularly “global” outlook. The U.S. military intervention was characterised by tactics that pitted science and technology against the local terrain, weather, and vegetation. The Lao landscape was a violent landscape
during this era, as it was entangled as both agent and object in the conflict. The U.S. war on nature in Laos remains a salient part of contemporary Laos, as the country grapples with perhaps the world’s most serious unexploded ordnance problem. Thus today, the Lao landscape is violent
in yet another sense: past violence is incorporated into today’s land. This is reflected in local retellings of the violence and devastation of the era, stories that stress images of the loss of natural wilderness.

History

Journal

Global Environment

Volume

1

Issue

1

Pagination

56 - 79

Publisher

White Horse Press

ISSN

1973-3739

Language

en

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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