Child Soldiers
By Waleed Ahmed

April 2007
Do you ever consider how lucky you are? Did you know that you could be living in such a place where becoming a direct participant in war is a must? Kids at the age of 15, or even younger, are subjected to such violence everyday. At such tender ages, they have to be a participant of such cruelty. An approximation of about 20,000 to 30,000 are serving as soldiers. These young children participate in all kinds of warfare. They're equipped with all sorts of guns. Each one of them is forced to carry out a mission as a human "mind detector" and participate in missions such as carrying supplies, acting as a spy and committing suicide. The one that really hit me was the suicide mission. How could someone be so cold hearted to make such young kids go out and just kill themselves because of some stupid war. I don't find that right at all. Imagine yourself at the age of 12, being forced to carry guns and told to go on suicide missions for the ‘sake of your country’. Do you find any compassion in that? I don't know about you but I don't have the vaguest belief that this is right. The children being forced to do this are young, naive, and scared to death of rebelling. Because of the circumstances, they don’t know what else to do instead of just doing what they are being told to. Most of them are forced out of their homes and are recruited for war. If any child hinders, they are threatened by death or something else that is intimidating enough to make them do it. However, sometimes children join army groups because of despair. The corruption in their society leaves many children homeless, separated from families and not being allowed to go to school because of the lack of money. They find no other solution then joining the other child soldiers. This makes you realize how corrupt certain countries are, and how fortunate we are for living in this country. These kids go to the army groups only because they have nowhere else to go. And what are they told to do? To go and waste away their lives by killing themselves for no apparent reason! A 12-year-old child carrying an AK-47 and going on a suicide mission; does that not seem inhumane to you? I find this completely wrong and I believe it should be put to a stop. This ties right into child labor. Children shouldn't be stripped of their lives so other people can live rich and drive fancy cars. Countries such as: Angola, Burma, Burundi, Colombia are where these child soldiers have been met and interviewed. These kids don't deserve this; no one deserves to be treated this way. Everyday a child is crying of agony because they're put through such torture of being a soldier. Imagine the strength it must take for a young kid to live in such a way. To carry out a suicide mission isn't a walk in the park. Something should be done to put a stop to this. I think the only way we'll actually care is if we put ourselves in their shoes. Imagine being one of them, carrying a gun that you've never even seen before. Then you'll know what I'm talking about. We should all get together and put a stop to this and help those kids in need. We need to do something about this. And we need to do it fast. Innocent kids don't deserve to go through such torment. We need to unite to put a stop to all this, because ultimately, they are our future.

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