This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The image is of blood at the site of an accidental explosion of a missile remaining from the wreckage of Russian tank used in Afghanistan¶s civil war where children played with it until it exploded. Among seven children, four were killed. ³How old will you be in 2050?´ That¶s the slogan worn on t-shirts of The Australian Youth Climate Coalition attending a UN Convention on Climate Change in 2009. For the young people attending that convention, many will live to see 2050. However, what kind of a world will they inherit? For actions taken today, not only regarding climate change but in all things, will either achieve a better world for them and their children, evolve to a ³Wall-E´ world, a ³hell on earth,´ remain static or regress. Today, ³hell on earth´ is the day-after-day experience of many children. They may never live to 2050, and those who do will continue to live in a world of misery, suffering, discord, and destruction. They are the children of war, an uncountable number of our children whose lives have been shattered by the consequences of war. They are the most vulnerable to society¶s ills, but the greatest of society¶s ills and most horrifying are the war and post-war environments that create ³hell on earth.´ Some of these children are child soldiers forced to kill, and at times even forced to kill a mother, father, or sibling, and if not they will be killed. They may become murdered, disabled, raped, or forced into servitude. They may become homeless, orphaned or separated from parents. They may die slowly from malnutrition and disease. They are traumatized by violence and will never experience peace in their lifetime. All wars from the very beginning of time, especially the exceptionally horrifying wars of the Congo, Sudan, and Uganda, but America¶s as well: the Indian Wars, our War of Independence, the Civil War, our two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War, all of them have caused
untold suffering on what we call our most valued treasure and resource, our children. And, America¶s recent wars are no different. These same conditions afflict Iraqi and Afghan children. But even more disturbing, in Iraq and Afghanistan the consequences of our wars have produced a crisis of abandoned and burned-out tanks, abandoned weapons and other equipment, the remains of exploded and unexploded munitions and land-mines, white phosphorous that will sizzle human flesh right off the bone, depleted uranium that produces high levels of radiation and dioxins, burn pits and oil fires, all of which have created a festering contamination of particles that get into and poison air, water, and soil, which has contributed to a staggering increase in birth defects and cancers. Some of these babies are born with one eye in the middle of the face, missing limbs, too many limbs, brain damage, cardiac defects, and missing genitalia. Mohandes Ghandi once said, "If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children." Adults have a responsibility not only to lookout for each other, but more importantly, adults, not just parents and families, have an overriding responsibility to lookout for the wellbeing of children, of which we have been a failure.
SOURCES AND OTHER RESOURCES: Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, Children of War Website: Children of War The film: Children of War The film: War Child WarChildHolland.Org, War Child in Afghanistan UNICEF State of the World¶s Children 2011