Child soldiers: A battle we should win
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Everyday, in more than 30 conflicts worldwide, from Sierra Lione, Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan, Burma, and etc, more than 300.000 child soldiers (both boys and girls) are witnessing and undergo a very horrible situation, which is war. They have to face brutality within their own pair of eyes that will hurt them emotionally and brings a huge threat to their existence. They're just children or teenagers like us, but they have to experience a very different stories than the rest of us. When we usually get up from bed to go to school, they go to war. When we usually meet history, math, or english at class, they meet their enemy that they have to shoot or kill. And they don't have a choice about it.
Most of the children who are involved in conflict are forced by adults, members of non-state actors such as rebel groups that will threat them if they refused to join, they are brainwashed, or even drugged so they want to fight for the groups. Those children are also pressured to economic and cultural pressure in their place. Many of them join the group as the only way to get daily foods to survive because they live in an extreme poverty. They do it without knowing the consequences and dangers they are going to meet in the warzone. For the 40% population of child soldiers in the world which happened to be girls, the scenario can be worse. The potential risk of sexual abuses, rape, and even exposed to be sex slave for the adults soldiers are remarkably high for the girls child soldiers.
Seeing terrible things happens in the warzone everyday makes them get used to it. And the fact that children thinks violence is something normal, is heartbreaking for me. Like what Ishmael Beah -a teenager in war-ravaged Sierra Leone- said to a interviewer from CNN, "Somebody being shot in front of you, or you yourself shooting somebody became just like drinking a glass of water. Children who refused to fight, kill or showed any weakness were ruthlessly dealt with". He also said that emotion is not allowed in the warzone. You can't cry for whatever reasons, and if you did your head soldiers can do whatever he wants to you or even shoot you. Can you imagine yourself being in that kind of situation? It's beyond hard i think. For children, all of these experiences that they got can cause a permanent bruises in their life, it can shaped their personality that they will bring for the rest of their life. That's why reintegrate them to the society is also difficult because generally, most ex child soldiers had a very bad trauma from what they have through since they are still immature and unstable when they face all of those impudence they used to witness. The vivid picture of what they saw in the warzone will still be there back on their mind even though they managed to go out from the situation.
As you read this article, another child soldiers is being recruited in a part of the world we don't know and this must be combated as soon as possible. We don't want to see another children giving up their dreams and visions about life for being in a harsh circumstances they don't belong to. War is already a bad circumstances for adults, let alone it is for innocent children that supposed to taste the excitement of education. War should not steal a children's future and for whatever reasons, it will never be justifiable. The issue of Child Soldiers is a battle we should win together.
picture from www.globalgrind.com