One Child Soldier Too Many

My heart pounds and my fingers tremble as I now write this piece about the child soldier. I do not know if this is because I have four grown children, whom as children, I could not imagine as child soldier victims. I am probably so restive too, because I have five ground children (and more to come) whom I cannot imagine in this predicament. What’s more perplexing is that it is not solely because of poverty plus the fact that this child soldier hardship trend continues today!

Child soldiers or the military use of children under the age of 18 takes various forms. They could be recruited by state or non-state armed groups who directly force them: to participate in hostilities as fighters; to act in support roles as suicide bombers, porters, spies, messengers; or be used for political advantage either as human shields or in propaganda. In every one of these situations, many die untimely deaths. It is therefore, very disturbing that the use of child soldiers is on the rise globally, and even where it defies cultural morals and taboos of some world regions. Children are usually “recruited by force or lured by the false promise of an escape from poverty” especially where there are armed conflicts, and where hundreds of thousands of them serve illegally as child soldiers. While the estimate of their numbers continues to show an increase (some quarter million or 250,000 children are fighting in wars somewhere in our world today) accurate data are hard to obtain.

While there are some International organizations and governments that try to limit this trend, they are not enough. It therefore behooves us, as citizens to become engaged if only because these children are living a life no child should ever be forced to live.

So we salute the over 60 Aurora teens who walked 38 miles for former African child soldier. This story was reported in the Daily Herald of March 28th, 2014.

“By the time they arrived at Soldier Field around 7:15 p.m., the students had gained some insight into the experiences of a speaker they are bringing to their school next month: a man named Ishmael Beah, who, at age 12, was forced into an African army as a child soldier.”

The restiveness that surrounds my writing these stories may also rest on the fact that there are not yet enough voices since, children are still being exploited to serve as soldiers; (please read the excerpt below form TIME magazine). There is no reason why children should serve as soldiers – not for themselves and not for us adults who make them serve. So, please go and add your voice/s and actions to this world malady because for every child that is entrapped as a child soldier, it is one child too many!!!

——–This is an excerpt from TIME Magazine of March 24th, 2014 titled:

There Are at Least 500 Child Soldiers Fighting in Northeast India, and the World Hasn’t Noticed

“Insurgent armies in India’s restive Northeast region are exploiting the area’s poverty to recruit and press-gang underage fighters — and the problem has dramatically worsened in recent years

Early one morning in 2012, three boys, all in their early teens, left their village in Manipur, a state in Northeast India on the Burmese border. They were being lured away on the promise of unspecified employment and a pledge that, in exchange for their labors, their parents would be taken care of

The job, as it turned out, was one of killing. The boys were taken by a recruiting agent deep into the jungles of Burma (which is officially known as Myanmar) for military training. They had been shanghaied into a ragtag army waging a war against India for a banned rebel outfit, the Peoples’ Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) — an insurgent group fighting for a separate homeland in Manipur.

‘“They took me and my two other friends to the temple,” says 15-year-old Tomba (whose name has been change to protect his identity). There, the boys had to vow never to run away.’….”

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2 Responses to One Child Soldier Too Many

  1. Justin says:

    This is most tragic for our generation. And painfully too, politicians and power brokers most times posing as leaders are the most culpable as they secretly bankroll all the ethnic-religious crises that give rise to the recruitment of children as soldiers to die in useless causes. Nigeria has long since joined the list of such societies going by the ongoing horrors we are witnessing. What a travesty of our development

    • adaeze12014 says:

      Hi Justin,
      Thanks for your comment.In a previous blog, I did indicate that war is not only a “betrayal” of many groups, but also heralds too many collateral damages. When adults wage wars – it is their decision and they have to be held accountable. But bringing children into it is a betrayal to the children; then recruiting them to fight or engage in other ways for the adult’s sake is criminal, to say the least. The tragedy in child soldier is that many of us look away. It requires each of us to speak up and if possible do something to stop it. Thanks again.

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