January 23, 2003

"A Child's Work"

Driving home last night, I listened to the KPCC broadcast of the NPR program Marketplace with David Brancoccio. The broadcast was the third part in their "A Child's Work" Series, and featured the stories of young children forced into soldierhood from the West African town of Sierra Leone, a site which is still recovering from an 8-year civil war. These were children, boys and girls alike, abducted from their families, or orphaned by the war, forced to take up arms and travel into the most dangerous of combat situations. They were often mutilated and drugged into submission, girls were also used as sex slaves. They were also involved in some of the most brutal killings and woundings in the war.

The brutality of the commanders responsible for choosing, abducting and physically, sexually, and emotionally torturing these children are deserving of the most serious punishments available. These children are now somewhat grown, and many of them are not able to return to their homes, either because there homes are no longer there, or their families and townfolk are terrified by them. Their stories were compelling, heart-breaking, and terribly frightening.

I'll admit, I knew nothing of the atrocities and brutal fighting going on in the region. It wasn't something I paid attention to. Even right now, I couldn't tell you exactly when this civil war happened, or what the repercussions have been since, but the stories are intriguing, and I will be giving them another listen. You should give the program a listen for yourselves.


posted by julie at January 23, 2003 10:00 AM


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