Michael Greenlar’s REMNANTS OF A SECRET WAR is now part of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive

Title: Remnants of a Secret War

Photographer: Michael Greenlar 

Date of publication:  2011

Place of Publication: Syracuse, New York

Language: English

Dimensions of book: 260 x 240 mm

Number of pages: 55

Publisher: Light Work

Design: WRK Designs

Printer:  Eastwood Litho Inc

ISBN: 978-0-615-47704-6

Summary of Project:

For more than 25 years Hmong blacksmiths in Laos have forged unexploded bombs and shells into tools used in their subsistence farming. This sword to plowshare practice exemplifies the resourcefulness and resiliency that has led to the survival of the Hmong in postwar Laos. 

Today the Hmong continue to farm this land despite a 10 to 30 percent dud rate of the unexploded ordinance. Burning fields, planting and harvesting rice can be a dangerous occupation with over 20,000 casualties since the end of the war, many of the victims being Hmong. Despite their diminished population and an alarmingly high rate of mortality the Hmong in Laos have survived.

In 2000, photographer Mike Greenlar heard a news report about the long-term impacts of covert U.S. bombing raids about 30 years earlier on communist forces in Laos. He traveled 10 times to a remote mountain region of Laos to document the effects of cluster bombing on the Hmong people between 1964 and 1973″