Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Syria, child soldiers and you.

The world failed in Syria. In my mind this is a situation that should never have taken place. The only reason it has is because no one had the courage to act with peaceful intent. Every action was rooted in violence and now here we are standing in an ever deepening grave.  As the violence continues, sadly, Syria is on the fast track to the complete chaos of collapse.
The use of child soldiers in Syria was a known reality from the outset.  Anyone that denies that has no sense of reality concerning the brutality this world offers. All sides in the Syrian conflict have questionable moral stands so why would the use of child soldiers be a shock to anyone?  
There is one element that needs to be understood when child soldiers are discussed. That element is the impact of environment on child development. Syria has been in a state of war for two years now. Two years is a great amount of time for a child. A person that grows up in such a place will be normalized to weapons, bullets and the bonds that soldiers acquire throughout war. For a child, they are more easily adapted because there is no long term knowledge of life being any different.
Growing up in such a reality becomes part of everyday life. How to survive in a war zone is a basic life skill for children because this is where they live. The reality is that they will most likely learn how to fire a weapon, clean wounds, run for cover and other gruesome battle field realities. The longer the war rages on the more education they will get, the more hatred they will acquire as friends die and the less likely children will be peaceful as they grow older.
At the moment there is a very strong push to increase the amount of weapons, training and support into Syria. Of course such a tactic will increase the violence and bring further destruction of everything within Syria. What is being completely disregarded in all of this is that supplying weapons, training and support to opposition forces within Syria is an illegal act. Syria is still a sovereign country and anyone providing aid to militant groups bent on toppling governments are guilty of supporting terrorist acts. It just so happens that such facts of reality have been killed along side the thousands of people.
What is to be done? Well, I have provided that plan many times and no one has the courage to try it. So here goes one more time.
As an individual we must badger our leaders to implement a total ban on weapons in the region. When those leaders tell you that can not be done ask why not since we put them there to begin with. If and when they wave you off that is confirmation that they agree but just do not have the courage to fight that battle. In this case you just ask if it is better more people die than you having the courage to work harder to bring peace to children.
If you are part of an organization you too can use the above strategy. Another avenue for organizations is to seek out opportunities within Syria to begin building peace. There is no place that is too small to start from because with each point hope is planted. Offer support to organizations in refugee camps that have educational programs, even better if there are programs about peace.  
Now with all of that, the best way to improve the world is to work at building peace right in your own community. As sad as it may be for those in Syria, often the most important battle is within your own mind first.

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