Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Child Soldiers: You’ll Have to Learn Not to Cry

From Air & Space Power Journal:

I had a friend, Juanita, who got in trouble for sleeping around. We were friends since we were civilians, and we shared a tent together. The commander said that it didn’t matter that she was my friend. She had done something wrong and had to be killed. I closed my eyes and fired the gun, but I didn’t hit her. So I fired again. The grave was right nearby. I had to bury her and cover her with dirt. The commander told me: “You did very well, even though you started to cry. You’ll have to do this again many times, and you’ll have to learn not to cry.”
—Human Rights Watch interview with “Angela” Bogotá, 2 June 2002

Small Wars Journal posted links to English translations of the Air & Space Power Journal (Spanish edition) issue on child soldiers.

There are somewhere around 300,000 child soldiers serving in war zones around the globe with close to half a million serving in countries not at war. During the last decade, approximately 2,000,000 child soldiers died during armed conflicts.

If you're relatively new to this subject, these articles will be a good primer. If you're already familiar with the child soldier problem, this will provide more valuable insight for you from a likely different, i.e. more military, perspective. Considering that this is a military as well as a social issue, important insights can be gained from this point of view.

This is one of those issues that further affirms that the human race has a long way to go before we can call ourselves "civilized" or "evolved."

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