Monday, February 12, 2007

Child Soldiers: What a Sick World We Live In has an excellent, though horribly depressing, piece on children who are kidnapped (or recruited after seeing their parents killed), brainwashed, and turned into killers:
There is no escape for what the United Nations and human rights groups estimate are 250,000 child soldiers today. These children, some as young as 8, become fighters, sex slaves, spies and even human shields.

The article gives some specific examples of this sad and digusting reality:

One girl, Angela, 12, told Human Rights Watch she was told to shoot a friend when she joined Colombia's FARC guerrillas.

"I closed my eyes and fired the gun, but I didn't hit her. So I shot again," she said. "I had to bury her and put dirt on top of her. The commander said, 'You'll have to do this many more times, and you'll have to learn not to cry.' "

An indictment against Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo asserts that one of his commanders threatened to shoot a 13-year-old girl unless she tied the testicles of a prisoner with wire. She complied and the captive died.

Indoctrinating children into a life of torture and violence may be worse than killing them. If they are ever rescued and restored, the wounds that they have suffered and inflicted will haunt them for the rest of their lives. In the meantime they will risk their lives to maim and murder their peers and supposed enemies.

On its surface the situation seems hopeless, and in reality the average person can do little to put an end to this exploitation. But the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers has some resources and suggestions for taking action. And we can all pray that God's grace might be at work in the lives of the world's child soldiers.


Blogger gavin richardson said...

i haven't seen that picture in a few years. crazy to see the boy with a machine gun toting a stuffed animal backpack.

8:42 PM  

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