In the African continent a disreputable concept subjects children to being vessels of war. Child soldiers. These children become toy guns. Under duress they also murder. With international attention the warring children are transported to a place with nothing more than sympathy. More sordid about this concept is that a thousand more little girls become forcibly forced ‘wives’ to guerrilla fighters. Your ten year old baby was suddenly taken into the amazon of Africa. Tending to the sexual need of teenage boys at a war to which they were each abducted!
You were a mother. A father. Is it consolable if the boy who went into your daughter was the kid you once knew in the neighborhood? Would that have been better? What if your daughter was actually subjected to the gunning muscle of a man the age of her father? Would you have given up that child? Is she immoral now? Would you live on your toes until she returned home? And what if she didn’t?
Such are secrets. The world only made mention of abductions into a war. But did they stop to grapple with the fact that these kids were discharged of chastity until their skin felt no more of the tearing or good itch? This happened to another mother’s sweet child.
Will you cry now?
How would your tears help?
Will you make a phone call?
Who will you be talking to?
Will you pray?
What are you telling the almighty that he already does not know?
Is it helpless? Is it?
This is the voice of a child soldier.
The Lord Resistance Army rebellion of northern Uganda was named Africa’s longest conflict. Before the ICC issued arrest warrants in October 2005 of its top commanders the livelihood of children in the region were more precarious than you discover now. The cease fire brought them back home but are they really at home now?
What remains of this rancor is an enhanced sensation of stigma and deprivation. And a dilapidated new framing of the once prided-in culture. Children have been orphaned and subjected to abject poverty.
These children call upon you.