Colombia: “Lend Your Leg” Campaign Raises Awareness about Antipersonnel Mines

On April 4, The “International Day for Mine Awareness” took place worldwide as part of the Lend Your Leg campaign. In Colombia, the Fundación Arcángeles [es] (Archangel Foundation) was in charge of directing and facilitating the campaign's activities. As well as other foundations like Mi Sangre [es] (My Blood), or higher education institutions such as SENA [es], that all came together to direct what has since 2011 in Colombia been called “Roll it up, lend your leg.”

People worldwide were invited to roll up a pant leg in honor of the victims of these devices that Wikipedia in Spanish defines as [es]:

“tipo de mina terrestre. Están diseñadas para matar o incapacitar a sus víctimas. Se utilizan para colapsar los servicios médicos enemigos, degradar la moral de sus tropas, y dañar vehículos no blindados. Por ello, se busca sobre todo que hieran gravemente o mutilen, y no tanto que maten, ya que un muerto no causa tantos problemas como un herido. Así, sus efectos más comunes son amputaciones, mutilaciones genitales, lesiones musculares y en órganos internos, quemaduras. Se calcula que hay más de 110 millones de minas repartidas en más de 64 países (la mayoría en África)”.

“A form of land mine designed to kill or incapacitate its victims. It is used to bring enemy medical service to a standstill, lower their troops moral, and damage unarmored vehicles. Therefore, their objective is to mutilate or gravely injure, but not to kill, because a death does not cause as many problems as an injury does. So their most common effects are amputations, genital mutilation, muscular and internal organ damage, and burns. It is estimated that there are over 110 million mines spread out over 64 countries, the majority of which are in Africa.”

In Colombia, according to reports from PAICMA [es] (Presidential Program for Comprehensive Care for Victims of Anti-personnel Mines), between 1990 and the start of 2012 there have been 9704 victims.

April 4. International Day for Mine Awareness. Image by Germán Vitti on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Martha Elena González shared a text [es] on the blog La Ciudad (The City) that circulated on the Internet [es] explaining Lend Your Leg:

Este 4 se abre una gran convocatoria para que las personas de todos los rincones del mundo presten su pierna remangando su pantalón en un acto simbólico contra las minas antipersonales, un problema que todavía representa una amenaza grave y permanente para  distintas poblaciones civiles alrededor del mundo.

Las cifras lo demuestran.  De acuerdo con el ICBL (International Campaign to Ban Landmines) en el Landmine Monitor Report 2011, hubo 4.191 víctimas reportadas en 2010 por accidentes con minas antipersonales y restos de explosivos de la guerra, un 5% más que en el año 2009.  Además, se sabe que las cifras en algunos países muchas veces están incompletas, por lo que se presume que es los números son notablemente mayores.

This 4th there is a call going out to people from all parts of the world to lend their leg by rolling up their pant leg symbolically against antipersonnel mines. These mines are a problem that still represent a grave and permanent danger for many civilian populations around the world.

The numbers show it all. According to the ICBL (International Campaign to Ban Landmines) in the Landmine Monitor Report 2011, there were 4,191 reported victims in 2012 because of antipersonnel mine accidents and remaining explosives from wars, 5% more than in 2009. Moreover, these figures are known to be often incomplete in some countries, thus the numbers are supposedly much higher.

The text continues to explain that initially Remángate (Roll it up) was a Colombian campaign, and then became a global initiative, Lend Your Leg:

La campaña Lend Your Leg, ahora global y la segunda consecutiva en Colombia, y que conmemora el 4 de abril el Día Internacional de la Lucha Contra las Minas Antipersonales, ha sido promovida por el Programa Presidencial para la Erradicación de las Minas Antipersonales, la ONG Arcángeles, la organización civil GTO14, UNICEF, UNDP, UNMAS, OCHA, la Agencia Presidencial para la Acción Social y Cooperación Internacional y la OEA. En 2012 la campaña global cuenta con el soporte de la ONU, el ICBL y distintos países que están trabajando juntos.

The Lend Your Leg campaign, which has now gone global and is the second consecutive one in Colombia, celebrates on April 4 the International Day for Mine Awareness. This campaign has been promoted by the Presidential Program for the Eradication of Antipersonnel mines, The NGO Arcángeles, The civic organization GTO14, UNICEF, UNDP, UNMAS, OCHA, the Presidential Agency for Social Action and International Cooperation and the OAS. In 2012 the global campaign now has the support of the UN, the ICBL and different countries that are working together.

On April 4 different opinions were present on Twitter about what this situation means for the world, and especially Colombia, using the hashtags #Remángate [es] (Roll it up) y #Lendyourleg [es]:

Soy Yerbatero (@yerbatero1) [es] wrote:

Quitar una mina cuesta entre 300 y 1.000 Dolares. Sembrarla cuesta entre 1 y 3 dolares. @remangate #remangate

Removing a mine costs between 300 and 1,000 dollars. Planting one costs between 1 and 3. @remangate #remangate

Autoktonus (@autoktonus) [es] reported on some of the countries where the initiative was particularly strong:

Nueva Zelanda+Bélgica+Australia+Indonesia+Panamá Allí se están remangando #Remangate tú también #LendYourLeg

New Zealand+Belgium+Australia+Indonesia+Panama. Everyone there is rolling it up #Remangate You can #LendYourLeg too

While Óscar Alberto Murcia (@MurciaAlberto) [es] displayed an image with his pant leg rolled up, saying:

Yo también preste mi pierna de apoyo contra las víctimas de las minas quiebra patas #remángate

I am lending my leg also to show support against leg destroying mines #remángate

Image by Óscar Alberto Murcia, used with permission

On social networks the call was linked to the desire to be able to walk without fear. To that effect, Andrea (@AndreaCorner) [es] wrote:

Exijo! caminar sin miedos ni temores #Remangate

I demand to be able to walk without fear or worry! #Remangate

Although there were some who expressed their disagreement with the act of rolling it up, like David Prada (@davidprada) [es]:

Remangarse el pantalón le es tan útil a las víctimas de minas como una foto de aire lo es para alguien q se esta ahogando. #Remangate

Rolling up your pant leg is about as useful to the victims as a picture of air is to someone who is drowning. #Remangate

Alejandra Alzate (@aleja_alzate) [es] wrote that he was skeptical about the day:

Sinceramente no pensé que tanta gente fuera a demostrar admiración,apoyo y respeto por las victimas de las minas antipersona #REMANGATE #FF

I honestly didn't think that so many people would show such admiration, support, and respect for victims of antipersonnel mines #REMANGATE #FF

While still others called for coexistence and tolerance. Lau G. Osorio (@Deathlovenight) posted:

Pero ustedes todo lo pelean ¿quieren remangarse? Haganlo. ¿ No quieren remangarse? No lo hagan y dejen de joder. #remángate

To all of you fighting it: you want to roll it up? Go ahead. You don't want to? Well then don't and stop bothering. #remángate

On the official global campaign website you can find photos and videos about the event. What is more, the United Nations Mine Action Service invited netizens to post photos of themselves “lending their leg”. @MineAction asked:

Take photos of you “lending your leg” & add them to the for a free world group!

In this group you can find a variety of photographic material, while the promotional video of “Remángate” can be found in English and Spanish on the organizer's Youtube account:

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