IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Child Soliders

There are some topics so horrible and tragic that I find it difficult, as a teacher and a human being, to find the right tone and language to discuss them.    One of these is “child soldiers“.  What do you say about a society that turns its tender young into stone cold killers?  Before you think that it is just “those people over there” who do this, think about gang bangers–the recruitment dynamic is similar.    The raw violence, the manipulation of a child’s dependency feelings, the use of drugs, etc… I leave it to you to learn more about this modern tragedy if you are not familiar with it.

However, there are people working to do something about it.  For instance, I just came across “The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers”:   ” The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers works to prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers, to secure their demobilisation and to ensure their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.”

This page puts the matter simply and clearly:

“The use of children as soldiers has been universally condemned as abhorrent and unacceptable. Yet over the last ten years hundreds of thousands of children have fought and died in conflicts around the world.

Children involved in armed conflict are frequently killed or injured during combat or while carrying out other tasks. They are forced to engage in hazardous activities such as laying mines or explosives, as well as using weapons. Child soldiers are usually forced to live under harsh conditions with insufficient food and little or no access to healthcare. They are almost always treated brutally, subjected to beatings and humiliating treatment. Punishments for mistakes or desertion are often very severe. Girl soldiers are particularly at risk of rape, sexual harassment and abuse as well as being involved in combat and other tasks”

There are many videos about this topic, however, I think this one is dramatic and informative.  I am not, by any means, pointing a finger at the DRC since there are many examples of this phenomenon (and not all are from Africa, either).

I am just scratching the surface here; just pointing toward something you may want to study further on your own.  However, when you think about these things (and add in the lasting impact of land mines, of destroyed economies, etc….) it is difficult to understand how rational people can still speak of violent conflict as a viable tool of policy at any level and in any context.


June 8, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: