The recent Manchester terrorist atrocity is heart rending and tragic,depraved and above all shocking that it was a 22 year old who chose to walk into that place and detonate a bomb among so many other young people,children and their families.
However, in many ways throughout history, its always been the young killing the young in so many conflicts and wars.The young seem to take the brunt of both the coercion to fight and kill and the wider consequences of conflict that erupt around them.
In a startling report back in 1999, before 2001 and the so called war on terror began , the new internationalist stated this;
A contribution to the militarization of society is to socialize children into thinking violence and war are justifiable and glorious. From military, defence and weapons-industry recruitment schemes to action-hero toys, society creates killers.
There are at least 250,000 child soldiers fighting in armed conflict.
Most countries consider young soldiers ‘volunteers’. But often coercion is involved — in Uganda around 8,000 children have been abducted for use as soldiers or prostitutes.3
Britain’s Manchester airport has had more than 1,000 security alerts a year caused by children taking toy guns on holiday.4
By the age of 16 an American child has seen, on average, 18,000 murders on television.5
The charity Child Soldiers International offers this insight…
Who are child soldiers?
Child soldiers are children (under 18) who are used for military purposes.
Some child soldiers are used for fighting — they’re forced to take part in wars and conflicts, forced to kill, and commit other acts of violence. Some are forced to act as suicide bombers. Some join ‘voluntarily’, driven by poverty, sense of duty, or circumstance.
Other children are used as cooks, porters, messengers, informants, spies or anything their commanders want them to do. Child soldiers are sometimes sexually abused.
Child soldiers can be both boys and girls. Whilst some may be in their late teens, others are as young as four years old.
A recent United Nations report on Youth and conflict stated:
Children and youth are uniquely vulnerable to recruitment. Hundreds of thousands are associated with State and non-State armed groups. Their participation in conflict has serious implications for their physical and emotional well-being. The prominence of civilian casualties, including children and youth, in contemporary conflicts is a reflection of the changing nature of conflict, in which we see the increased use of improvised explosive devices and new technologies, the conduct of hostilities increasingly in urban or densely populated areas, and a blurring of the distinction between civilians and combatants. In some country-situations, children and youth are also used as suicide bombers and schools are systematically attacked jeopardizing the life of children and preventing them from going to school.
It seems in the world as we know it in 2017 we are being fed fear and prejudice, blame and aggressive reaction rather than the pursuit of peaceful solutions and actions.
Its not fantasy there are myriad conflicts as the daily news site foreign policy states ;
The world is entering its most dangerous chapter in decades. The sharp uptick in war over recent years is outstripping our ability to cope with the consequences. From the global refugee crisis to the spread of terrorism, our collective failure to resolve conflict is giving birth to new threats and emergencies. Even in peaceful societies, the politics of fear is leading to dangerous polarization and demagoguery.
Even today President of the USA Donald Trump speaking to Nato leaders berated them like school children that they were not “ paying “ their dues financially to up scale the military machine and options to counter violence.His again is the voice of violent reason. We must have a bigger hammer to counter their hammer and so forth.
Is the world we want to live in and our children to inherit?
Is this the narrative we want to see grow and evolve?
Are there other ways?
“Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
Lets teach our children and young people to do just that.
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