The real victims of war
“A shot, and the child is dead. In war you have to kill, because the war is made against someone. Against the enemy, for what he represents or for what he has.
But that of the sniper is a strange war. Through the rifle’s binoculars, the blond child can be seen as if he were close. He can be seen playing, and roll on the fresh snow.
He is the enemy, and probably he is smiling while the trigger is pressed.”
Green Parrots by Gino Strada
Wars affect the children in all the ways that they affect adults, but also in different ways. The children are losing the opportunity of education, they are forced to move into refugee camps where they wait for years in miserable circumstances for a normal life. They are confronted with physical harm, violence, explication, fear and loss. A girl who is raped may be marginalized in her society and lose the opportunity for marriage.
Long after the war has ended, these lives will continue to be affected and many will never attain the potential they had before the impact of war.
Land mines that look like toys and are attractive to children are one of the very worst examples of the effects of the war.
“Toy mines, designed to mutilate children. I had to believe it, even if I still have difficulty understanding.”
If any inanimate object could be called “evil” it would be the land-mine. A mine has no target. A mine recognizes no ceasefire. Unable to distinguish between the footfall of a soldier in the battle, or a child playing, it lies in wait to kill and maim. There are an estimated 100 million of these devices already in the ground, with another 100 million lying in stockpiles, ready for use.
No continent has been spared. The greatest concentrations of mines are in Africa and Asia, but it is estimated that more mines are now being laid in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in the republics of former Yugoslavia, than in any other region. The most
heavily mined country in the world is Afghanistan, where there are an estimated 10 to 15 million of them. The second largest concentration is in Angola, which has 9 million, with more being laid each day. Cambodia has more mines than children – two mines for every child.
“The child was called Khalil and had his face and hands, or what was left of it, covered with abundant bandages. He has not even moved, the child, not a complaint. In the operating room I removed the bandages: the right hand was gone, replaced by a horrible mush like a charred cauliflower. On leaving the operating room, Mubarak shows me a fragment of dark green plastic, scorched by the explosion. He said: Look, this is a piece of land-mine, they picked it up where was the explosion, our old men call them green parrots …”
Green Parrots By Gino Strada
The anti-personnel mine has been portrayed as a defensive weapon designed to slow an enemy advance and protect important installations. Intended to maim rather than kill, the accepted view is that it aims to tie up enemy resources in the evacuation and treatment of the wounded.
In reality, the anti-personnel mine is now the ultimate weapon of terror. It is used to subjugate whole populations and is capable of bringing entire societies to a grinding halt. They have been laid in villages, fields, forests and mountains, along riverbanks, on pathways, roads and bridges and houses. Whatever the location, the intention is the same: To intimidate civilians, to deny them the chance to plant, to travel, to lead their ordinary life.