Saturday, October 07, 2006

Child Soldiers / Child Testimony

Beasts of No Nation: A Novel (P.S.)So how about some real life child testimony to compare with the fictional version in Beasts of No Nation?

Here is a short film excerpt produced by WITNESS,
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) children make up the majority of combatants in a war that has claimed over four million lives. Through the voices of child soldiers, A DUTY TO PROTECT explores the complexity of the war, the issues confronted by girl soldiers including rape and sexual exploitation, and the importance of the International Criminal Court to end the rampant impunity reigning in Eastern DRC.

(Sidenote: Witness just launched a partnership with Global Voices, featuring human rights video from around the world, some from people documenting human rights abuses with cellphones-- I'm going to try to remember that next time one rings at the wrong time! A recent post concerned Mohammed Abbou, a Tunisian writer featured in Amnesty's Banned Books Week appeals.)

In this film from Sierra Leone, a 14 year old boy, Sidibay, tells the story of how his family were killed and how he become a child soldier.

More stories, drawings and songs from former Sierra Leone child soldiers can be found Sample excerpt,
I left about 8:00 pm to continue my journey. I walked for about an hour having nothing to eat ro drink then I suddenly saw a stream. I was drinking then I was surrounded by tall huge men and the one yield at me " What are you doing here you small boy you're a spy I'm going to kill you now." With these words Istarted trembling, then he said "Are going to join us or choose to die" then I say whatever you want to do with me I'm willing. I was then taken to their main base in that region and I was tied up for one week eating dry Cassava and drinking filthy water. One man who was living in my village and was one of them pleaded that they should let me go. and since that day I became a full childsoldier. I was injected with cocaine and then given an AK 47 riffle to carry. I started going to front lines killing people raping and do all sorts of bad things.

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