Saturday 21 March 2009

Cluster bombs... 2 years on

The BBC runs a report on the lasting legacy of Israel's cluster bombs.

Rasha is her mother's biggest helper.

Seated on the floor of their tiny house in Marake, a village in southern Lebanon, the girl slouches over a bag of thyme placed in front of her.

Her thin, well-trained fingers move fast as she sorts the herbs, separating leaves from the stems.

For Rasha's family, thyme is the main source of income. Her father, Mohammad, harvests the wild herbs, while women sort, dry and sell them.

But Rasha hates the chore, and the memories it brings back.

She was 15 when, two years ago, she picked out a round shiny object from a bag of thyme her father had brought home. It exploded right in the room.

"I'd heard of cluster bombs, I had seen posters of them in school - but how could I imagine that something like that was possible?" she asks.

Her mother, Alia, looks away as Rasha pulls up her jeans and shows me the result of the explosion - her left leg is missing.

"I can't look at it," the woman sighs. "I cry every time I give her a bath. I am worried how it will affect her future."

Tuesday 17 March 2009