Child Soldiers

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child-soldierImagine  a child deciding to join an army because it’s the only choice that will assure food every day…

Imagine  a male child being abducted to fight a war or a female child being abducted to be a sex slave for the male child-soldiers…

Now, Imagine  more than 300,000 such children…

This is an extremely sobering fact about our human family.

In 1959, 50 years ago, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations published a Declaration of the Rights of the Child and yet, today,  we can read in a report from the U. S. Department of State:

“Some children have been forced to commit atrocities against their families and communities. Child soldiers are often killed or wounded, with survivors often suffering multiple traumas and psychological scarring. Their personal development is often irreparably damaged. Returning child soldiers are often rejected by their home communities.”

Imagine  a country in which “…shooting video, owning a video, speaking in a video, sharing a video, or even shouting out in glee after watching television, can earn you years in jail.”

That country is Burma…

Imagine  a web site that uses video to not only bring international crimes to the public’s attention but is noted for having its videos become central to the arrest of a warlord in Africa that is alleged to have used child soldiers in his conflicts.

That site is The Hub, “The global platform for human rights media and action: See It – Film It – Change It.”

The warlord is Thomas Lubanga Dyilo and his trial is the first for the International Criminal Court, “… the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.”

Often, in my scanning the news for current issues and crises of our global human family, I’m totally devastated by what I find…

This is one of those occasions………

All I can add to this report is:

A Spiritual Quote:

“O Thou kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might and the wondrous signs of Thy greatness. O God! Protect these children, graciously assist them to be educated and enable them to render service to the world of humanity. O God! These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness.

“Thou art the Bountiful, the All-Loving.”

– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Compilations, Baha’i Prayers, p. 34

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11 thoughts on “Child Soldiers

  1. Hi Alex,
    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I had no idea – no idea from what I see on the local news. It IS sobering to think that those children don’t have a choice to be children in their environment.

    It makes me think how fortunate we are in this country, but it still doesn’t change the fact that children in other countries can’t grow up and experience the joy of living.

  2. Dear Alex, I have watched documentaries on this issue and wept. One of the films interviewed some of the children, of the children’s own desire to speak out and shed burdens, all the kids were in shock. Anyway, I thought a couple of things. I looked around to see where I could possibly help, even in a small way. And then I thought how it is crucial for people in countries that are radiatively free of strife, war, torture, starvation, etc. to “get their act together” and appreciate what they do have, start simplifying their lives and sharing their resources with those who have less. I am ashamed at the consumerism here in America and the money spent just to have a brand new SUV that is HUGE, gas guzzling, and only driven in the city. What is the point? And the endless need for more clothes, more new nick knacks and things and more things just to feed an addiction while millions starve. And the food I see thrown out in restaurants would feed the world.

    I am NOT saying that we have to suffer because others are suffering. No, I don’t believe that, but there is SO MUCH we could use more wisely and share. We rarely need as much as we think we do. A $200 dollar blouse could feel so many in developing countries. Alex, I tell you shamelessly that I shop as much as I can at secondhand stores. People I know are too “embarrassed” to do so. What they may not realize is that it recycles, gives jobs to people who can’t work except through an org like Goodwill, AND the money is used to help those in need. It’s a win win situation all around.

    There is so MUCH change that we can do right here at home that would affect the whole world. I see spouses fighting over the most ridiculous petty things when people in the world are suffering like these kids. We humans can lose site and become seriously myopic. Parents have enormous power to start educating their children from a very young age, educating them to share and care for others. Children are amazing when they really see another person suffering. They WANT to end the pain by helping, sharing, etc.

    And yes, we must also pray. Always my friend.

  3. We cannot know what we are not being exposed to.

    The seemingly alienate perspective in the major media, suffers from its own denial of connection, while worshiping competitive sale strategies for survival as the bottom line of interest.

    Much abuse of our fellow beings occurs because of our willing or not, ignorance. Thanks for bringing the issues up that you do here.

    Anyone who does lose their childhood before they are grown into adults, should be thought of; That in some small measure, love and our union in compassion will allow some common space for inquisitive joy to return to their life.

    Thanks again for your blog.

  4. My dear friend, Robin,

    Second-hand shopping is actually a creative form of being a responsible citizen. There are not just less expensive items available, but a wider range of types of items than most other single stores sell–a treasure trove of multiple kinds of stuff!

    The ideas of being sensitive to and responsible about our whole human family are definitely heard by me! In any family, what hurts one member hurts all members–would that people could see that much of their stress comes from the imbalances in our human family–imagine starving just one member of your biological family; the stress would certainly affect everyone–it’s exactly the same in our global family; most of us just chose to not attribute the stressors appropriately…

    Children and Education should be the WatchWords of our Time!!! If our children are educated in ways that support and empower their latent virtues and strengths, they Will work their butts off to end the suffering of others….

  5. benefia,

    You make much sense and share much wisdom!!

    We must share what’s wrong with our human family. This is why I scour alternative news sites–to find the injustice and report it….

  6. Dear Alex, I beamed that you “KNOW” the treasure trove of secondhand stores. Aaaah! We are kindred. 🙂 We are anyway, but now we are really really kindred! Lol! 🙂

    Also, I LOVE your analogy of the human family compared to the biological family. When I thought about this and let myself imagine it and FEEL it in my body I could feel the drakness, horror and just plain and simple stress from sitting at the table eating while one memeber of my family was starving. Then I thought about it in relation to our Human Family and how we are all walking around feeling this stress in our bodies and phsyches every day. Because I know we are all connected as One. How could we NOT feel it? You have made a powerful comparison here. One that is intensely felt and one that is not easily forgotten. Good for YOU!!! It would be worth writing an entire post around this analogy.

    I so loved what you wrote here about children. Oh yes! Just so beautiful and true. Another potential and powerful post.

    Thank you my friend.
    Robin

  7. Robin,

    OK, so the world IS working…

    My responding to your heartfelt response to my post has let you give me two Powerful themes for posts or series of posts!!!

  8. Dear Alex, I chuckled over “OK, so the world IS working…” 🙂 I am SOOOOO pleased that you are going to do a further post on these ideas we talked about. I think it a highly potent analogy. Good for you. I look forward to seeing what you share. Thank you my friend. Wonderful!

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