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Clearing the Killing Fields

The story of an unsung hero - Irishman Carson Harte still battles the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge Regime as he helps get the wounded back on their feet in the most mined country in the world, Cambodia.

Documentary maker: Tim Desmond

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Documentary maker: Liam O'Brien

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Clearing the Killing Fields

"Clearing the Killing fields" is the story of a conflict that continues to injure and maim decades after it ended.

Though the horror of the Khmer Rouge regime has been consigned to history, the legacy of those times lives on: one of persistent danger to rural Cambodian people is landmines.

Now, land mine clearance is underway and two associated projects, one of which has been funded by Irish Aid, have been particularly successful.

Focussing on the clearance of mines and the rehabilitation of victims, the documentary takes listeners back to the horror of Pol Pot and the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime which ruled Cambodia during the 1970s.

Carson Harte is a prosthetist orthodist who decided to swap his career dealing with the of victims of conflict in Northern Ireland to help heal the wounds of the thousands of Cambodians maimed by land mines.

Carson has an inspiring story to tell. He worked for number of years in orthopedics at Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast during the worst of the northern troubles where he witnessed first hand injuries caused by conflict.

In the early 1990's Carson and his Family moved to Cambodia. Working with the charity Cambodia Trust , Carson set up a school of prosthetics and orthotics at a hospital in the capital , Phnom Penh.

As well as the story of Carson Harte , the personal stories of former Khmer Rouge activists, families in the heavily mined countryside, and those working with victims , the programme reflects on the horrors of its past and the challenges for the future of one of the poorest countries in South East Asia.

"Clearing the Killing Fields" looks at the shared experience of conflict , the impact of unexploded ordinance on the poorest peoples and how education can provide a long term solution to this 'collateral damage'. We also join the Halo Trust who specialise in the removal of the hazardous debris of war.

The message of the project is simple; conflict often extracts a high price from those left in it's wake for decades after hostilities end.

"Clearing the Killing Fields" was funded by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.

Produced by Tim Desmond.

Production supervision was by Liam O'Brien

First broadcast 25th February 2012.

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