My name is Raed Mokaled and I come from Lebanon, where my son, Ahmad, was killed by a cluster bomb, on 12 February 1999. Ahmad was not a terrorist or a criminal; he was only a child who just wanted to play and enjoy life.
On the day of the accident, my wife, our two sons and I all went to a public park to celebrate Ahmad’s fifth birthday. Once we got to the park, we prepared food and a birthday cake with five candles for Ahmad. He went to play and we heard an explosion. My wife screamed ‘That’s my son!’ as she sensed something had happened to him and not to another child. I ran over and saw him bleeding because of the many injuries to his body. I had been a volunteer in the Lebanese Red Cross but my mind went blank. I forgot all my training. We rushed him to hospital in my car and he was moved by ambulance because he was critical. He suffered for four hours before finally dying.
My other son, Adam, said he saw him pick up something like a brightly coloured bottle and it exploded. Of course this is very attractive for a child to pick up.
I am sure no one, whatever their position as a politician, can give us an answer as to why my son was killed by a cluster munition.
By telling my story to more and more people, I am trying to find a way to ban cluster munitions worldwide. It is the responsibility of politicians to protect the rights of all children.
In the future, when the wars are over, the armies leave, and peace finally reigns, the cluster bombs will remain behind as a testament to the ugliness of humanity.