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Young Blood: Children of War by Blue-Whisper Young Blood: Children of War by Blue-Whisper
I am proud to be a member of the 2007 ThinkQuest International 19 & Under Team, which included me, David, Parth, and Tommy. This is a quick summary/teaser for our website, which can be found by clicking here. Our site is Young Blood: Children of War. I was responsible for the graphics and some of the content (solutions and the Rwanda and Myanmar dossiers).

The issue of the use of child soldiers is a tragic and pressing one. Please take the time to read this short summary of the extensive content on our website. Our website includes the following sub-sections: Country Dossiers (detailed descriptions of 20 countries using child soldiers), Causes, Impacts, Solutions, and Interaction/Media.

If you are interested in this issue, I suggest checking out the powerful documentary "Invisible Children," which tells of the use of child soldiers in Uganda. A special abridged version of this documentary is available for free viewing on Google Video. I highly recommend watching, it will change your life.

Also, check out the book "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah. This biography is a moving account of a boy lost in Sierra Leone's civil war and then as a child soldier.

[…] Text:

Amnesty International estimates that over 300,000 children are currently used by government
armies and militant groups to fight in some of the world’s more gruesome and deadly conflicts.
As soldiers, more than two million children have died in armed conflicts, leaving nearly six
million seriously injured and disabled.

Often after being drugged and brain-washed, children are used as minesweepers, guards, sex
slaves, cooks, port keepers, frontline warriors, suicide bombers, and participants in extrajudicial
executions. Many times children are forced to brutally abuse, murder, or rape other children or
members of their own family- all while being as young as six or seven years old.

Child soldiers are both forcefully recruited and willing volunteers. Some children are violently
tricked into joining an armed group, others join seeking revenge, an opportunity to rebel, or pay.
The proliferation of small arms, breakdown of family values, poverty, indoctrination, and civil
strife are major contributors to the use of child soldiers.

Recovering from the horrors of being a child soldiers is nearly unbearable for many children.
Most children suffer from acute diseases and disorders, including AIDS and Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder. Some children have no family left, while other childrens’ families shun them.
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration programs help rehabilitate children.

In order to eliminate the use of child soldiers, the problem must be addressed at multiple levels
by a variety of programs. It is important that the United Nations, national governments, non-
governmental organizations, and individuals all work together to help end the use of child
soldiers. Do your part.
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:iconeliza-aacher:
Eliza-Aacher Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2010
Great work- this is such an important issue. It breaks my heart that anyone, especially children, is made to suffer like this.
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:icontheblackrisu:
TheBlackRisu Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2007
They get their fa--*shudders* thank you for that thought, K-san. It shall be a loverly thought as I try to get some sleep tonight. Seriously though, it is nice to know that somebody shares views similar to mine.

Well, after looking into these UNICEF guys and their work, I pretty much agree that if anybody could liberate the child soldiers it would be UNICEF or maybe some other group...or most likely numerous such groups within in time. Still, I can't shake the fear of what would happen if the use of child soldiers was finally stopped. What the ones responsible for their suffering would do to get revenge for it.

Well, you keep the good work on this stuff. I look forward to whatever else you have on this matter and well anything else you post here in general.
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:iconblue-whisper:
Blue-Whisper Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I hope those responsible don't seek revenge. They shouldn't though. I'm pretty sure UNICEF cooperates with rebels (and even governments which use CS) to have a peaceful turnover of children.

The main problem is the mindset which fuels the attitude that using child soldiers is "okay."

Sweet dreams. Sorry about that thought, but it happens. :-(
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:icontheblackrisu:
TheBlackRisu Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2007
Wow, I'm feeling really both enlightened and disgusted (mainly at that second paragraph) aftering reading all of this and then going to your website. To be honest, before when I heard 'child soldier' I always thought it was only a firearm being shoved in a child's hands and being ordered to fight or else or being weeded into the concept through 'children's programs' in Iran, Iraq, and where ever else.

I enjoyed and agreed with most of the Solution section on the site, but then something hit me. Upon really thinking about it for a bit, I started to wonder if even with the all the government..'stuff', signed petitions, and such handled would it really be possible to put a full stop to child soldiers and all the other ways they're being used by these freaks? I would love to believe that it is, but I have my doubts.

While it should go without saying, I think it is painfully obvious if you try to take something away and/or stop something, it never fully be stopped. Who knows, some hard effort might put a dent it yet it will continue at either a faster or slower rate, depending on if efforts actually work. Plus, I feel that any attempt made to liberate the child soldiers for good will only result in quite a unpleasant reaction (most likely already has). After all, while should go without saying the supposed intention for the torture that they put a good number of the children through to warp them into tools of war is to have a greater number of soldiers which would supposedly 'increase' chances of victory.

I think that matter that concerns me more is the kids that are willing volunteers and the children that are beyond help at this point, those that will rebel against and won't give a second thought about killing those that they view as threats/enemies. Alongside, the matter of the former child soldiers. For, broken minds and warped minds can either leave a being a depressed wreck or will eventually result in a bigger breakdown and result in the monster that those heartless, wastes of flesh intended...let it be quickly in their youth or further down the line.
(Note: I'm not even going to factor in the more government related matters of attempting to deal with this...for...'some reasons'. <_<;)

I was going to type much more, but decided at against it for fear of having to shove my foot in my on mouth. All I'm just saying that it is a good cause and I applaud you and those other guys for all the hard work on the subject, but I still have my doubts about any effort actually working. Although there is always hope, eh?
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:icontheblackrisu:
TheBlackRisu Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2007
*face palms* Oh, what was I thinking?! >-< 'For broken minds and warped minds can either leave a being a depressed wreck or will eventually result in a bigger breakdown and result in the monster that those heartless, wastes of flesh intended...let it be quickly in their youth or further down the line.'?! LAME. <_<
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:iconblue-whisper:
Blue-Whisper Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, thanks for your responses! It's good to see that people are concerned about this issue.

The thing is, I believe you are right. For sure, it is impossible to end the use of child soldiers without addressing some of the major causes, like civil strife and poverty. The resources nessecary to alleviate poverty in third-world countries are MIA and too overwhelming.

But demobilization has worked. It's a long process though. I read the memoir "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmeal Beah, a former child soldier. It's a depressing story beyond compare which reaccounts so much death, despair, torture, and escapism. The first day after Ishmael was demobilized from the rebel group he fought with (the leaders actually made an agreement with UNICEF workers to turn some underage child soldiers into recovery programs), he and his friend jumped the security guards and staged a mini-coup. After months of care, individual attention, and therapy, Ishmael went to live with a family member in a mostly happy life (until more war broke out). The other boy joined another faction.

It's hard to have hope with this issue. Rehabilitation programs are expensive (for the doctors, food, shelter, etc.) and require that each child be given a lot of attention.

However, I think that this is a very important issue. Children don't deserve to go through the horrors of being a child soldier. Even the ones that volunteer couldn't expect some of the autrocities that would be committed against them, like commanders slicing their face and rubbing cocaine in it so they will raid villages more fiercely.

Regarding solutions like signing petitions, you're mostly correct. Idle signatures do nothing, except perhaps make the signer feel like they're making a difference. I wrote a letter to Thelma Drake, and all I got was a canned response from one of her servants that promised no action. However, groups like Save Darfur, who have mobilized the support of thousands of people, use online petitions to make big differences in government and even corporational policy. There is hope, but I believe the best way to address this issue is on a specific and hand on level. The work must be down by proffessionals (not politicians) like those at UNICEF.

Thanks for your comments, and please don't be afraid to write more. I'd like to hear what you have to say. :D
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:icondawakeup:
dawakeup Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2007
good project! :+fav:
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:iconblue-whisper:
Blue-Whisper Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks man. It's a very important issue. The scary thing is, it's an almost unsolvable problem because child soldiers are so hard to rehabilitate. It's nearly hopeless.
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:icondawakeup:
dawakeup Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2007
we try to forget school... they try to forget war... thats not fair!
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