By: Maryam 705
Child solider. Some words do not belong together.
Children at War
Is it fair that while we are sitting in our comfy coaches at our peaceful homes watching our favourite television shows, they are eight-year-olds that are being forced to kill their own siblings and parents? Kids are being forced into a war for numerous reasons. How would you feel if you were sleeping in your comfy bed in your supposedly safe home when all of a sudden, you awaken due to your screaming mother and five men are shoving you out of bed? They are forcing you to walk out of your village and past everything you have every known? How would you feel when you are given a gun and told to shoot a kid that you know? Sadly that is reality to the 250 000+ kids that forced into war. Some of these children are kidnapped from their beds and their schools, while others were handed over because their parents cannot afford to put the food on the table. Some children willing give themselves up in hope of a decent meal and protection which by the way they never receive. Some kids go to war with revenge scared deep into their hearts for their murdered parents and siblings. Every person, child, and adult on the face of this earth has rights but these children are stripped of every right just because they were born in a country where war is raging on and these children have no other way to survive. Just listening to these children’ horrifying stories of getting placed into the hands of cold hearted men is enough to send fear shooting into a child’s heart. You have not even heard of what happens to these helpless kids once they reach these cruel camps. The main reason kids are used in wars is because they are easier to control, do not demand paychecks and will do things an adult would never do. Children are often used as spies, messengers, and cooks. Girls are especially vulnerable and usually end up providing sexual services to the camps. Due to the advancement in guns it is easier to send an untrained boy into first line of combat. A common task in these torture camps is to carry materials and wounded soldiers. The task is often handed to the younger troops which is near impossible for the malnourished nine-year-olds. The horror stories of what these children were forced to do were beyond cruel. Raping girls, beating children/women, cutting people hands off, torturing people to death, shooting people, killing, the list is endless of what these children were payed by and what they had to do to others in order to survive. No child or adult on planet Earth has the right to be tortured and yet you cannot find a better way to break this law then by torturing the innocent (children). Life was never easy for these children but even escape is not easy. Getting caught trying to leave results in death and even if you do escape what life do these children have? They cannot get jobs due to their looks and in these war-ridden places, people have lost their trust even in the children. Even if by a miracle you do get your life back on track trying to cope with all the things you did in order to stay alive is painful. These children get nightmares and flashbacks. That is why we need to stop this problem right now. No child or adult deserves this, so why are they getting this. There is always this little knot of fear in everybody’ s heart. For some people this fear is a deep fear but a small one like losing in a competition or something along those lines. But for some people those fears are bigger. For the children that are low classed, for the people that are below the poverty line, for the people living in war zones their fear is war. These children are in war for one and only for this reason. Because they born into a poor family and a war zone. We have to stop classism!
'Susan' a 16-year-old soldier abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda recalls, "One boy tried to escape [from the rebels], but he was caught... His hands were tied, and then they made us, the other new captives, kill him with a stick. I felt sick. I knew this boy from before. We were from the same village. I refused to kill him and they told me they would shoot me. They pointed a gun at me, so I had to do it. The boy was asking me, "Why are you doing this?" I said I had no choice. After we killed him, they made us smear his blood on our arms... They said we had to do this so we would not fear death and so we would not try to escape. . . I still dream about the boy from my village who I killed. I see him in my dreams, and he is talking to me and saying I killed him for nothing, and I am crying."
At the age of five, Michel Chikwanine and his best friend Kevin were packed into a truck with a group of other children and they were driven to an unknown location. When Michel stepped out of the truck, he felt the crunch of human bones under his feet. An AK-47 was placed into his hands, and he closed his eyes as he was forced to pull the trigger. When he opened them, he found Kevin lying dead on the ground.
"I remember the day I decided to join the mayi-mayi. It was after an attack on my village. My parents, and also my grand-father were killed and I was running. I was so scared. I lost everyone; I had nowhere to go and no food to eat. In the mayi-mayi I thought I would be protected, but it was hard. I would see others die in front of me. I was hungry very often, and I was scared. Sometimes they would whip me, sometimes very hard. They used to say that it would make me a better fighter. One day, they whipped my [11-year-old] friend to death because he had not killed the enemy. Also, what I did not like is to hear the girls, our friends, crying because the soldiers would rape them."
There is an estimated 250 000 child soldiers in the world today.
It is estimated 40% of all child soldiers are girls.
Many rebel groups use children to fight the government, but some government also use child soldiers in armed conflict.
Not all children take part in active combat. Some are also used as porters, cooks, and spies.
The Universal Declartion of Human Rights
School child. Some words do go together.