How War Destroys Children
By Yumna Abbas

February 4, 2007
War. What does it accomplish? Nothing. It brings pain and misery to people. It causes mental and physical damage. It destroys our one and only world. Worst of all, day by day, we lessen the chances of a brighter future for our world when we put children through the burdens of war.
I sometimes forget of the horrible situations that take place around the world. Reading articles helps me to recall the reality of those in third world countries. It also helps to open my eyes to all the things I have been blessed with. In this article, I would like to share the stories of two children of Uganda. So that maybe this article will help to open your eyes, as mine were when I first read about their story.
Regina, 20 years old now, was of age 12 when she was kidnapped by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. The LRA is a vicious, rebel group that kidnaps children and turns them into soldiers, servants or sex slaves. Most of Regina’s village had fled to a refugee camp from the LRA but Regina had stayed behind to cook for her father who worked in the area. When Regina was kidnapped, she was taken to one of the camps in southern Sudan. At the camp she learned how to shoot a gun and farm. What a great thing to teach a child. Two years later, she was given to a LRA commander as a house servant. She was then handed over to another rebel soldier as a “wife.” She gave birth to a daughter, now four years old and to a son she named Innocent, 7 months old.
Her freedom came when the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) attacked the camp she was at. Her daughter was shot and Regina’s “husband” wanted to leave his daughter behind and flee, which he did, but Regina refused to leave her child behind and was captured by the UPDF. After eight years she is finally home and happy that she has been accepted by family and friends without hesitation.
Anne was 12 years old in 2002 when she was kidnapped by the LRA. She saw people around her come under attack very quickly.
"Immediately I saw people being killed," she says. "I was very frightened. I thought we'd all die right there."
After the battle, the LRA asked the captured children if they wanted to go home. Every child that said yes was beaten with a cane. “100 strokes” she said.
Anne started off being a servant but within two years she became the “wife” of a unit commander. She would turn away from him but he began raping her. He kept raping her until she became pregnant.
In July this year, her “husband” was killed by a bomb that fell from a UPDF helicopter. She used this to escape; telling the senior commander that now she was pregnant with no one to take care of her and that she would be nothing but a burden. He agreed and allowed her to walk away.
Anne knows that she has to accept this baby but she does not know how she will feel about it.
After thinking about Regina and Anne, I wonder how long these insane battles and wars will continue. How long will it take people to realize that they are accomplishing nothing by killing? How long will innocent children be victimized to violence, rape and slavery? And I wonder about those that are trying to help and then I wonder of those that live luxurious lives and don’t even know of the things that happen beyond their own countries, their own homes.

Source: Sites, Kevin. "Burdens of War." Hotzone.Yahoo.Com. 21 Oct. 2005. 4 Feb. 2007 .

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