Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Children and War

My new friend's experiences (see Gitmo post) prompted me to do some research concerning children and war.

I found that most of the world's children do not experience childhood in the same way the U.S., Canada, or England and some of the other westernized countries experience childhood.

For many children around the world, childhood has become non-existent except for physical body development. Research has shown that the brain of a human being is not fully developed until at least late teens or even early twenties. What happens when a child experiences war as a victim or as a child soldier? Truthfully, I don't know - but I do know that around the world millions of children are abducted and forced into fighting wars and they lose their childhood very early in life. Some studies have shown them to be unable to integrate back into a non-war life, probably because of the ongoing horror and trauma of war.

Other research has shown that trauma experienced as a child through abuse, accidents, any trauma - may actually change the chemical structure of the child's brain which affects the bodily systems as well.

The U.N. has certain standards that, when captured in war, child soldiers must be returned to their own country. A friend of mine recently informed me that the U.S. did indeed return some children who were inducted by the terrorists and captured with those terrorists, back to their home country from Gitmo. In researching this subject,it seems the U.N. is busily working on an organized system to make this happen world-wide, as much as possible. Some countries refuse to comply with any U.N. standards.

Since my blog acts also as my "diary," I think I will use the next few posts on this, while much of the world mourns Michael Jackson's demise, I'll swim against the stream as usual and mourn for children who have lost their innocence and even their lives. In a way, this will also be my tribute to Farrah Fawcett, a valiant woman, also a celebrity of an era who stood for several causes, including the mistreatment of women and children....and later, cancer.

Here we go......"Many underdeveloped countries are involved in ethnic conflicts in which many innocent, unarmed civilians are killed. In recent decades war victims who are civilians has gone up incredibly high from 5% to 90%.(Defense Monitor) Worst of all, children are increasingly being used as combatants and fighting in these wars themselves. In most armed conflicts right now the number of children under eighteen are active in the army, and in many countries these child soldiers are under fifteen. (Defense Monitor) According to the most recent annual human rights report the U.S. State Department an estimated quarter of a million children, even as young as six have served in armed conflicts. These children are invisible for they spend most of their time in remote conflict zones that are away from the public and media. It's hard to find the children after wars for either they are killed, they vanish, or have been abandoned. What is really sad is that these children grow into teenagers and become more invisible from the outside world. These little children become adults locked within a child's body. Child soldiers are usually recruited because there aren't enough adults who are available or willing to become soldiers. Some are kidnapped, others are forced to join groups, and some even volunteer. Once recruited as soldiers children generally are treated as adults and are often inducted into brutal ceremonies, and are often humiliated and embarrassed. (Defense Monitor) Child soldiers suffer many of the same physical and psychological effects that war brings to noncombatant children. They are separated from their parents and lose their homes. They are exposed to violence, death, and are often permanently disabled. (Defense Monitor) Physical injury also carries additional emotional, psychological, and social disadvantages. (Defense Monitor) Yet the most severe long term consequences of children serving as soldiers may be their moral development. When the fighting ends it's very hard to place these kids back in a home surrounding, or school surrounding and expect them to adjust. They are in fear all of the time, and have a difficult time switching over from a non-violent life style if they are even to adjust at all. Governments must take or assist in the appropriate measures to promote children's physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration."


More Later......


punxxi said...

This has to be very true, I would think that they only know violence and aggression as a way of life, look how many adults come back from combat the same way. Trauma early in life certainly will ruin your life if you let it. Look at all of the serial killers, rapists and generally amoral people.
Yeah, I agree, the press should talk about Farrah, she certainly contributed more to society than MJ, also a case of an abused child becoming an abuser....I wonder what his children will tell the world someday? Same as O.J.'s kids have you ever wondered if either of them saw or heard anything and maybe repressed it?

Gardenia said...

Have never seen any photos of MJ's little kids with a smile on their faces. I did watch TV last night, they look pitiful - now the news is out - they will probably never know who their parents really are. Most of the Jackson kids, the ones who have told their stories indicate that there was abuse in the home or origin, but MJ's father denies it - (of course). I believe it. I guess many great artists are tormented souls -

I agree with the term "if you let it." Most of the time it is our personal reponsibility to heal from whatever affected or affects us. Sometimes I wonder though if some abuse is just too horrendous and too damaging - interesting question - truly, is there such a thing as a person beyond redemption?

It seems that a lot of child stars do not end up with very happy lives - but I guess that's not limited to child stars - but they sure do have a set of problems to overcome....

Saw a Barbara Walters thing on Farrah last night - it was good, and what I noticed was that she had a lot of LOVE in her life. Poor Michael - I think there was a glaring absence of that in his life. One commentator said that many who truly cared about him were culled out and all he was left with was enablers...love gives life, and his end was death. God help those children. I think the old man Jackson is nuts. But Mom must have stood by and let it all happen. Dunno. All conjecture. Yes, I've often wondered what O.J.'s kids went through.

Candy Minx said...

Oh so very sad.

Last week an announceent of a paper to be published in the middle of July says research has corelated child abuse with adult cancer.



Gardenia said...

I believe it Candy. I just ran across a study that people who have been through trauma as children have more pain - and illness - the study mentioned concerntration camp survivors.

I've had the TV on - and it just gets sadder and sadder - the MJ situation. I'm feeling (my gut only) that its a wonder he survived that long...

It reminds me of the Nichol - ah what's her last name - actress/celebrity that died - the blond -

It's a sad week.

tweetey30 said...

This post makes me think of Ruth while she was here and her children back home in Uganda not having much food while she was gone and she was eating all kinds of stuff.

I dont blame you for running against Jackson's death. We have heard so much of it lately. he was good but come we can only hear so much more.