These days I was at a very interesting congress on child soldiers in Colombia’s capital Bogotá. One of the nice things was that some of the speakers were from other countries that are at war and that live(d) atrocities very much like those that the Colombian people had/have to suffer as well.There were two former child soldiers from Africa, one from Uganda and one from Sudan. They explained the circumstances of war and the attitude of the government – for example that the Ugandan government doesn’t want to stap fighting against the terrifying Lord’s Resistance Army although there is pressure to negotiate (what’s new?). I couldn’t help thinking of what I have often thought.
Colombians are so convinced that their war is the most horrible of all wars and the most unresolvable etc etc and no one is able to understand it, except the Colombians themselves. I think that’s why it never stops. They should look at experiences abroad, go there and talk to governments and NGO’s and learn, and especially be aware that their war is as stupid and cruel as other wars. And that the reason is the same in Uganda, in Sudan, in Liberia, in Sierra Leone and in Congo and in Colombia: inequality and lack of opportunities for the poor. Whose children are by the way therefore easily recruited as child soldiers.
17 wars are raging on at the moment, a Unicef representative said, in which child soldiers are fighting.