Children of War

Place yourself in a battle zone. Bombs are going off so close to you that you can feel them whip through the air before settling into the ground with enough impact to knock you off of your feet. The sound is so terrifyingly loud that your ears have gone numb and are ringing with excruciating pain. The smell of burning flesh mingles with the metallic scent of blood, making your nostrils flare and eyes water. You hold up your gun, an AK-47 nearly as large as you are. Blindly, you pull the trigger, hoping to shoot somebody so you can earn a meal tonight. You get back to the camp, and realize you shot one of your own. He’s only a year older than you. 15. You feel the same stab of pain you get whenever you realize you have killed somebody, but it has happened enough that you can ignore it. You listen to your sisters, your friends, scream and cry at night while the officials have their way with them. You get up the next morning and do it all again.
The life of child soldiers is terrifying. Soldiers enter villages and take boys and girls to be trained for military combat. They are used as spies, messengers, sexual slaves, and soldiers on the front lines. Taken from their families, from their homes, they are pushed into a lifestyle of killing and performing tasks for others.
Statistics show that most child soldiers are 15, but the Taliban is known to use children as young as 5, 6, and 7 for suicide bombing plots and other acts. Most children in military conflicts have killed 11 people, and the psychological effects are devastating. Over 50 countries in the world use children in military actions, and most don’t get proper meals or medical care.
Many laws have been passed by the UN to regulate and stop the use of child soldiers, but with little effect. In 1989 it was decided that countries cannot use children under the age of 15 in military conflicts, and in 2002 they bumped the age up to 18. Also, they made it a war crime to use children under 15. Even though these are very strict laws, they are not doing near enough to stop the problem because it is nearly impossible to enforce them.
Children who have been used in war often face crippling psychological effects. They find it difficult to adapt to everyday life, and are often diagnosed with “anger problems”. Girls, especially, are proven to have worse effects because they are not designed for military conflict. They are typically forced to become “wives” of the officials, being raped nightly by multiple men and often becoming pregnant.
The military use of children NEEDS to be stopped. Right now. Children are dying, and being hurt physically and emotionally. Take a stand by writing to government officials and pointing out the obvious. Let this age-old problem stop here.

www.child-soldiers.org/
www.invisiblechildren.com
www.amnesty.org/en/children





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