Child Soldiers, Updated

Image Credit
child-soldierIn a recent report from TerraViva-Europe, RIGHTS: RECRUITERS OF CHILD SOLDIERS DEFY UN PRESSURE, I found this statement about attempts to eradicate the use of child soldiers:

“Asked how the United Nations could remedy the situation, or rein in non-state armed groups, Joost R. Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group told IPS there is ‘no easy answer’ to the question.

“‘I doubt the United Nations could do anything about it other than highlighting the issue and reinforcing the ban on the use of children in conflict, especially for such nefarious purposes,’ he said, referring specifically to suicide bombers in Iraq.”

That report made me have  to revise and reprint this post from February 4th:

Imagine  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.”

That 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.”

You can follow the trial at The Lubanga Trial at the International Criminal Court.

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

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

Make It Easy !
Subscribe Free
in a reader or your email

Father Law ~ Mother Mercy

law_mercy

When did the Law become our parents?

Why aren’t parents protecting their children?

Why do the powers-that-be feel it’s their job to protect everyone’s children?

I’m not talking about situations when the Law needs to intervene in criminal acts against children—physical violence in public spaces, kidnapping, physical abuse, and other such crimes.

What those questions relate to is the Importuning Law; specifically, importuning on a telecommunications device—soliciting sex on a computer from an underage person…

If you like to twist your mind around legalese here’s Ohio’s Importuning Law.

The most startling part of the law is where it says the “offender” is guilty “…whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person.”

This seems to mean that someone could be in an Internet chat room, believing the other person is 21 years old, and, if they’re only 14, the “offender” is guilty of a felony…

Sound twisted to you?

Also, police are permitted to pose as underage persons and entrap “offenders”. This has been challenged in court.

There are a great variety of opinions surrounding these situations. One example is on waspohio.org.

Here are those questions again, in a slightly different order:

When did the Law become our parents?

Why do the powers-that-be feel it’s their job to protect everyone’s children?

Why aren’t parents protecting their children?

I’d love to have your comments and I hope the comment section becomes a riot of conversation!

Spiritual Quote:

“…it should be recognized that the ultimate solution to the problems of humanity lies not in penalties and punishments, but rather in spiritual education and illumination. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written:

“It is incumbent upon human society to expend all its forces on the education of the people, and to copiously water men’s hearts with the sacred streams that pour down from the Realm of the All-Merciful, and to teach them the manners of Heaven and spiritual ways of life, until every member of the community of man will be schooled, refined, and exalted to such a degree of perfection that the very committing of a shameful act will seem in itself the direst infliction and most agonizing of punishments, and man will fly in terror and seek refuge in his God from the very idea of crime, as something far harsher and more grievous than the punishment assigned to it.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1992, Violence and Sexual Abuse of Women and Children

And, in a more detailed format:

“Proposal submitted by the Bahá’í­ International Community at the Pre-sessional open-ended Working Group on the Question of a Convention on the Rights of the Child, Forty-first session of the Commission on Human Rights New York, USA 25 January 1985 Revised Article 16

1. In addition to academic education, the child shall be entitled to receive guidance training and education designed to promote his social, spiritual and moral development and well-being. 2. The fundamental objectives of such guidance, training and education shall be: a. To promote the harmonious development of the personality of the child and the realization of his full potential; b. To protect the child by developing his ability to resist outside influences or pressures likely to lead him into lawlessness or delinquency, or into practices injurious to his physical or mental health or to his social, spiritual or moral well-being; c. To prepare the child to exercise the rights and undertake the responsibilities of adult life in a manner consistent both with his own well-being and with the well-being of others; d. To foster in the child a respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and an attitude of understanding, respect and friendship towards all people, regardless of race, sex, class, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief. e. To foster in the child an awareness of and a desire to promote the principles of universal peace and brotherhood proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations. 3. The States Parties to the present Convention, bearing in mind that, in accordance with article 8, the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child rests with his parents or guardians, shall use their best efforts to: a. Raise the level of public awareness of the importance of the social, spiritual and moral education of the child, particularly during his early years; b. Promote recognition and understanding by all those concerned with the upbringing of the child, most particularly his parents or guardians of their indispensable role. and the primary importance of their example, in the social, spiritual and moral development of the child; c. Encourage schools to develop guidelines and courses of instruction designed to foster the social, spiritual and moral development of the child.
Bahá’í International Community: 1985 Jan 25 Question of a Convention on the Rights of the Child

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Subscribe Free
in a reader or your email

For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at
amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

Child Soldiers

Image Credit
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

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Get a Free RSS or Email Subscription
For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at
amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

Why Are Children Being Slaughtered ?

Image Credit
pal_dead_children2_77 
No commentary from me today; just the news . . .

From the New York Times: Warnings Not Enough for Gaza Families “The Samouni family knew they were in danger. They had been calling the Red Cross for two days, they said, begging to be taken out of Zeitoun, a poor area in eastern Gaza City that is considered a stronghold of Hamas.

“No rescuers came. Instead, Israeli soldiers entered their building late Sunday night and told them to evacuate to another building. They did. But at 6 a.m. on Monday, when a missile fired by an Israeli warplane struck the relatives’ house in which they had taken shelter, there was nowhere to run.

“Eleven members of the extended Samouni family were killed and 26 wounded, according to witnesses and hospital officials, with five children age 4 and under among the dead.”

From: ArchivesAlgeriennes

“As a father of five children, my heart breaks every time I hear or read about the brutal death of any child, kids dead Palestinian or Israeli, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or of any background. A child represents innocence, joy, and mercy.

“When Israel imposes, for more than three years, a complete siege on the Gaza population of 1.5 million and turns it into a large ghetto or prison, it certainly harms children.

“When HAMAS responds to that siege by sending primitive home-made rockets into Israel, it surely endangers children.

“When Israel carries out collective punishment on the Palestinians by dropping tons of huge missiles and bombs into densely populated residential areas, it most definitely kills children. So far, close to 30 children have died as a result of these bombs and hundreds more have been maimed and disabled.

“Every time an Israeli child is harmed, the whole world mourns, and rightly so. The whole world is informed of that child’s name, his or her parents’ agony, and the tragic circumstances that caused this death.

“However, when a Palestinian child is harmed, no one in the world seems to care. No one is told of his or her name. No one is informed about the pain of the parents, siblings, and grand parents who loved him or her. The zionist propaganda machine has succeeded in dehumanizing Palestinians. Palestinians are portrayed as terrorists, murderers, radicals, or sub-humans. That way, it becomes much easier not to care about such a people, no matter how many of them are turned into refugees, how many of their homes are demolished, how much of their land is confiscated, how many of them are imprisoned, and how many of them are killed or wounded.

“The Palestinian people, the indigenous people of historic Palestine (today’s Israel and Palestine) are, like all people, a nation that wants freedom on its own land. And they have continuously shown the world their willingness to sacrifice everything they have to live with freedom and dignity.

“And, yes, dead Palestinian children (as well as living ones) have names and their parents love them too.”

Spiritual Quote :

“Even now war is raging furiously in some places, the blood of innocent people is being shed, children are made captive, women are left without support, and homes are being destroyed. Therefore, the greatest need in the world today is international peace. The time is ripe. It is time for the abolition of warfare, the unification of nations and governments. It is the time for love. It is time for cementing together the East and the West.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 376

Please leave Your  thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Get a Free RSS or Email Subscription
For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

The Losers of Every Battle . . .

image credit
This post was written about the Georgian conflict but the message applies to the Gaza conflict as well…
> Use this link to see all our posts about Gaza <

Wars are fought for many reasons but they can’t protect the civilians in the cross-fire. The Georgian conflict is purely political—adult children fighting over land and prestige.

From the International Crisis Group: Human Cost of Georgian Conflict “The number of civilian casualties has yet to be independently established. Moscow claims 2,000 people were killed. US-based Human Rights Watch has said this cannot be independently verified.”

From the Los Angeles Times: Georgian refugees’ plight is grim “The Georgia-Russia conflict is estimated to have displaced as many as 100,000 people, many of whom are yet to receive any aid.”

From the Kansas City Star: Amid the chaos in Georgia, Missouri doctor perseveres “Trish Blair, the founder and president of the nonprofit ACTS International, has been helping the people of Georgia since 1992.
“The refugees will need medical care, she said in an e-mail.
“With a decision that has simultaneously horrified her friends and made them proud, the former trauma surgeon chose to stay.”

If you believe in a Life after this one on Earth, you must wonder how the people killed in war are received by those who passed on in comfortable, serene surroundings.

Some believe that death is birth into the Next Life—graduation from this school that tests and develops our virtues.

To those left behind, children with no mother, mothers with no children, the anguish is not easily abated by thoughts of the reward their dead have received—their escape from thismortal coil . . .

“Ye observe how the world is divided against itself, how many a land is red with blood and its very dust is caked with human gore. The fires of conflict have blazed so high that never in early times, not in the Middle Ages, not in recent centuries hath there ever been such a hideous war, a war that is even as millstones, taking for grain the skulls of men. Nay, even worse, for flourishing countries have been reduced to rubble, cities have been levelled with the ground, and many a once prosperous village hath been turned into ruin. Fathers have lost their sons, and sons their fathers. Mothers have wept away their hearts over dead children. Children have been orphaned, women left to wander, vagrants without a home. From every aspect, humankind hath sunken low. Loud are the piercing cries of fatherless children; loud the mothers’ anguished voices, reaching to the skies.
“And the breeding-ground of all these tragedies is prejudice: prejudice of race and nation, of religion, of political opinion; and the root cause of prejudice is blind imitation of the past — imitation in religion, in racial attitudes, in national bias, in politics. So long as this aping of the past persisteth, just so long will the foundations of the social order be blown to the four winds, just so long will humanity be continually exposed to direst peril.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 247

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

Like this Blog?
Get a Free RSS Subscription
For Email Subscriptions, Contact Me At amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

Games That Can Kill Us . . .

So many dangerously childish actions in the world political drama. For sheer silliness (which could blossom into rank trauma) the American Presidential campaign is a sad example.

From AlterNet: Top 10 Idiocies of the General Election … So Far

From the Los Angeles Times: John McCain, Barack Obama spar over ‘celebrity’

From CNN: McCain, Obama ad wars heat up

So, with all this dangerous silliness, why has the American public not used its Constitutional power to elect sane and sober leaders?

* Attachment to materialistic living and not caring too much what happens?

* Not being sufficiently educated about the issues?

* In a state of cultural shock?

Well, even if every malady of the American electorate were healed, their vote would still not guarantee that their political wishes came true. Ever heard of the Electoral College? This institution separates the popular vote from the election results. Plus, it has happened that the voice of the people was overridden by the electoral process . . .

Still, even if the people had their say, who are the people? Are they exemplary citizens, educated and compassionate?

I’m afraid I’m veering off into a rant so I’ll close this discussion {still hoping for your comments!} with today’s spiritual quotes:

“How incalculable have been the negative results of ill-directed criticism: in the catastrophic divergences it has created in religion, in the equally contentious factions it has spawned in political systems, which have dignified conflict by institutionalizing such concepts as the “loyal opposition” which attach to one or another of the various categories of political opinion —conservative, liberal, progressive, reactionary, and so forth.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1988 Dec 29, Individual Rights and Freedoms, p. 9

“The aggressiveness and competitiveness which animate a dominantly capitalist culture; the partisanship inherent in a fervidly democratic system; the suspicion of public-policy institutions and the skepticism towards established authority ingrained in the political attitude of the people and which trace their origins to the genesis of American society; the cynical disregard of the moderating principles and rules of civilized human relationships resulting from an excessive liberalism and its immoral consequences—such unsavory characteristics inform entrenched habits of American life…”
The Universal House of Justice, 1994 May 19, response to US NSA

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

Like this Blog?
Get a Free RSS Subscription
For Email Subscriptions, Contact Me At amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

How Hungry Are *You* ?

Cartoons can be brutal in their portrayals yet nowhere near as brutal as the facts.

Who’s starving?
Who’s well-fed and determined to stay that way, whatever the price?
Who deserves to starve?
Who’s working to stop the inequities?

From Reuters: Biofuels major driver of food price rise: World Bank “Large increases in biofuels production in the United States and Europe are the main reason behind the steep rise in global food prices, a top World Bank economist said in research published on Monday.”

From OneWorld.Net: Trade Negotiations Cannot Solve Food Crisis Created by WTO and World Bank “Trade negotiators are using the current food crisis as a Trojan Horse at the WTO negotiations to push an agribusiness agenda on farmers and rural communities around the world,” stated Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Agriculture should be removed from WTO negotiations until international leaders fully examine the impact on developing countries’ ability to feed themselves.”

Hmmm…
The World Bank states one of the major problems then persists in striving toward a non-solution.

Why are people so subjugated they can’t raise their own food? Why do the multinationals work so hard to deny human rights?

Let’s see . . . Couldn’t be massive greed, could it?

It took me most of 40 years to get the idea that we are One from my head to my heart. During that time, I committed actions that benefited me and ignored my brothers and sisters in our global family.

My head said I deserved what I could grab. I’d suffered and needed those material things to comfort me . . .

Now my heart aches with bleeding feelings that stun my sensibilities. The world’s in the clutches of the temporally powerful. Temporal because the Spirit of humanity will survive and the materialistic “rulers” will turn to dust and be forgotten.

This post and its implications are so grief-ridden I’m reduced to a state of utter hope—hope that my grandchild’s children will see better days.

What’s your estimate of when things will turn from greed to compassion?

~~~~~~~~~

“Good God! Is it possible that, seeing one of his fellow-creatures starving, destitute of everything, a man can rest and live comfortably in his luxurious mansion? He who meets another in the greatest misery, can he enjoy his fortune? That is why, in the Religion of God, it is prescribed and established that wealthy men each year give over a certain part of their fortune for the maintenance of the poor and unfortunate. That is the foundation of the Religion of God and is binding upon all.
“And as man in this way is not forced nor obliged by the government, but is by the natural tendency of his good heart voluntarily and radiantly showing benevolence toward the poor, such a deed is much praised, approved and pleasing.
“Such is the meaning of the good works in the Divine Books and Tablets.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 276

“Unfortunately, the arbiters of human affairs have, instead of embracing the concept of the oneness of mankind and promoting the increase of concord among different peoples, tended to deify the State, to subordinate the rest of mankind to one nation, race or class, to attempt to suppress all discussion and interchange of ideas, or callously to abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling small sections to live in an unprecedented condition of affluence.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1989 Feb 09, Right to Development

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments !

Subscribe to the Comments

Like this Blog?
Get a Free RSS Subscription
For Email Subscriptions, Contact Me At amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com