Despite tragic accident, Lebanon in the heart of former peacekeeper

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Hans Van Putten (centre) and fellow former Dutch peacekeepers greet UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Michael Beary. Photo: UNIFIL/Pascual Gorriz Marcos.

A Dutch army veteran who lost both hands while serving as a UN peacekeeper in Lebanon nearly 40 years ago, says the country is part of his story.

Hans Van Putten had only been in Lebanon for about four months when a grenade exploded in his hands.

He said the accident changed his life, but "not for the worse." Instead, he said, it has taught him that life is not "black or white."

Mr Van Putten visited Lebanon recently ahead of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, observed annually on 29 May.

Speaking to Yury Kushko, a radio producer with the UN mission in Lebanon, UNIFIL, he began by describing the culture shock he experienced when he arrived there in 1979.

Duration: 4'45"

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