I have a wonderful poster in my apartment that celebrates the Freedom of Speech. I was taught to believe in this as my civic responsibility growing up in this country. It is built into our educational system that when we grow up and if we must we will defend and fight for this right and ideal.
In many places around the world children have been taught similar ideals. But they are not waiting to grow up to fight. We have seen this in Kosovo and Palestine. Children fighting for the cause of religion or “freedom” and the like. But in Africa it seems that the children are fighting because they are being tricked into it for greed and power. But I suppose the question would be what is the difference?
Is there ever a time when children should be fighting for anything? If the leaders of these movements, from Congo to Washington, want to fight they should be willing to die. Idealistic yes, realistic no.
I am currently reading, “What is the What” the brilliant novel by David Eggers. The main charter’s identity is created by war and loss. He has many names because he has been named so many times. It is clear that he never had a childhood. While he was able to make it out of Southern Sudan, many of his friends died or became solders. The hero worship of the rebels and hatred of the enemy is built into the childhood of these kids. Even as the children have no idea what side to be on, they glorify war of the rebels.
So in this world where we celebrate our progress and hope and democracy, there are children shooting each other in the name of money and greed. They are teaching the children of the world war in its purest form. For no ideals, no nation, no freedom; just money and power.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
In the News: Child Soldiers of Fortune