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Kamala Sarup: Children Are Victims Of Terrorism

Children Are Victims Of Terrorism


By Kamala Sarup

The National Children's Day is being celebrated in Nepal with the slogan "Primary Education for All and Let All Be Assured of Social Security" by organizing different programmes today.

Yes, it is true, Conflict and Terrorism are very difficult to eradicate. Children are the predominant victims of war and/or terrorism. Innocent children are targeted by terrorists. These include grown men and women as well as children, if they accompany parents. From Iraq to Afghanistan, Nepal to Kashmir children are victims of terror.

According to a new report released Tuesday by the International Save the Children Alliance says "More than 43 million children living in conflict-affected countries are not able to attend school. Some 115 million children -- or almost 20 percent of the world's primary school-aged children -- are still not enrolled, according to Britain's foreign aid agency which estimates that donors will have to increase their spending on primary education from the current two billion dollars a year to some 12 billion dollars a year in order to close the gap. Among the countries with the highest percentages of non-enrollment are Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sudan, and Uganda, according to the report, entitled "Rewrite the Future".

"Today the majority of victims from war are civilians, not soldiers, and those left destitute are mostly children," said Charlie MacCormack president of the U.S. chapter of Save the Children. "The world cannot stand by, leaving these children without education and without hope or opportunity, in some cases for generations."

The group stressed that, without schools, children were far more susceptible to recruitment by armies and militias or other forms of exploitation.

The report further added that in addition to the 10 billion dollar a year increase, 5.8 billion dollars should be earmarked for countries affected by or recovering from violent conflicts.

"Given that most conflicts last for more than 10 years, children are spending their whole childhoods living in fear and without access to education," according to the report, which noted that some two million children have been killed in armed conflicts during the past decade, six million more have been injured, and another 20 million displaced from their homes. And because children in conflict-affected countries are unable to start school until they are older, there is often an above-average age school population when peace is restored. After 14 years of conflict in Liberia, for example, some 60 percent of the primary pupils were over age. The 48-page report, which was released here and in 39 other countries worldwide, said. (Source:2006 IPS-Inter Press Service).

Education And Democracy

Education is a vast subject, so I can't get too much into it here. Education enhances one's ability to get better work and become an informed citizen, which is important in a democracy. (Slaves are best left uneducated, according to their masters, so that they won't know too much about a possible better life.) Education was promoted from the earliest times in the U.S. Since many settlers had strong Christian religious beliefs, a rudimentary education was necessary to read and understand the Bible. That education turned out to be useful in work and business pursuits too. Laws were passed that required some schooling and colleges were created early, most by religious leaders to become ministers to the people. These colleges later became secular as learning turned more to science, agriculture, technologies, art, literature, history, etc. Governments used taxes to install primary, secondary and college institutions.

I don't see how a democracy can function adequately unless the general population has at least the ability to read newspapers to know what is going on in the government so that they can choose leaders intelligently. If the people are uneducated in the democracy, then the minority of educated people will pass laws and elect officials who promote the interests of the elite rather than the general population. Also, scientific and technical work require high reading skills. Many factory workers required some reading knowledge and some required knowledge of arithmetic and trigonometry too. I can't imagine how the U.S. could become so technically proficient and rich without considerable investments in education so that expertise could be disseminated throughout industries to people who work in them.

Children's Education And Peace

I believe children's education requires heavy capital investment. So, for children's educational development we must produce a children's program that can work through the Internet. Knowledge work does not require transportation and large capital investments.

However, any children's educational development program must be competitive in a world environment. This requires, in turn, world-class education in those subjects so that the graduates are able to compete around the world via the Internet.

Many underdeveloped countries today are doing what I described above. Therefore, I can't think of a better way for the countries to spend its revenues toward the objective of making the countries a for our children.

So what does this mean for the children who are being born today? What will their world look like in 2006 and 2010?

To have a child can be looked at a number of ways. In adulthood, children are the expected result to approved building block of any civilization.

I believe, children are a life-affirming act, the most hopeful thing human beings can do. They are also messy, time-demanding and, some say, the ultimate teachers of the earth. Women tend to look at children as destiny, which is not surprising. Birth is the act which defines most women and perpetuates the human race. Women give birth to create families, as well as to fulfill the dream states they have maintained since their own childhood.

So what do these women with child in the year 2006 dream of in the year 2007? Peace and prosperity, certainly.

Terrorism degrades both the doer and the tortured. It is a moral malignancy that is an illusion. It does not yield accurate peace, only jollies for sick and diseased minds. It just does not do so, and that has been proven time and time again.

*************

Nepali Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup is an editor of peacejournalism.com. She is specialising in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace, Anti War, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, and Development. Some of her publications are: Women's Empowerment (Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women through media,(Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (Media research). Two Stories collections. Her interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication, philosophy, feminism, political, socio-economic and literature. Her current plans are to move on to humanitarian work in conflict areas in the near future. She also is experienced in organizational and community development. She has been nominated as Universal Peace Ambassador [2006] in the framework of the Universal Peace Ambassadors Circle, Geneva Switzerland.

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