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Red Hand Day
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-02-12 10:00:31
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Once more it is up to me to write about Red Hand Day and remind you about the invisible kids behind the khaki and camouflage uniforms, the guns in hands and the blood in their souls and minds. I suppose during my adventures, having met a few of them, makes me an expert. You are wrong. There is nothing to be expert in and there is nothing to describe the pain in these eyes and even I so proud for some of my adventures in the most far always corners of this earth, yet I feel tears every time I bring these eyes to mind.

How can you excuse the act of giving a gun to a child and force them using drugs and fear to kill? I’m not sure if I have said this story before but one day talking with one of these children I tried to make him feel a bit normal however twisted that might sounds and led him outside in the yard of the building where other kids were playing. Most of these kids were economic refugees from Africa and east Europe and I just never thought about it, I just never saw it coming but these kids had been divided in two teams and each was holding pieces of wood - they were playing war with the pieces of wood having transformed into weapons, rifles and pistols.

It was the look that made me realize and I hate it but I carry that look more than the look he had when later he was telling me about his life and the moments he had lived as child soldier, the rapes, the violence, the torturing. Yes he did all that but before he had to suffer all that and what remained was fear and anger and every adult was guilty for that. Bringing back his face into my mind the only thing I can see it is the blood in his eyes, actually after one point I had the feeling that there was blood everywhere around him and inside him and he was just fifteen not a man not even a boy!

I don’t want to remember all these faces often, I suppose sitting now in front my computer and typing these words proves that I have the choice to do so even with my memories but what choices these kids have, time doesn’t always heal and reality definitely doesn’t help. Most of these kids haven’t found the way to our comfortable sitting rooms and full freezers; most of these kids are still there having to flee not only from the bad memories but from the nightmarish present living in refugee camps and in the streets of Africa and South Asia at least the places I can think of but I’m afraid that there are far more place for children soldiers.

There is a folk singer who was once invited to sing in an orphanage, the man stood in the middle of the big hall and just looked all these kids around him for a few minutes he didn’t say anything, I know because I was there; he sighed and then he played a bit with his guitar all the kids staring at him and absolute quiet in the big room. Then he starting slowly singing accompanied with his guitar and his very characteristic rusty voice, “I don’t know what to sing to these kids around me, they look at me with their wide full of questions eyes and I don’t know the answers…” and this is how I feel today while a search in the depths of my memories, I can see these big wide eyes looking at me full of questions, mainly one, why? And I don’t know the answers.

I don’t know what leads people do what they do, I don’t know if it is evil that arms these little hands and tortures the souls of these young creatures. I don’t even why do we have to fight and we cannot find other ways to sort out our problems and I never, never understood when people say this is human nature, no it cannot be human nature! Is our nature leading us to become cannibals because that’s the only way I can characterize these men and women who employ young kids into battles with guns and bullets. And please remember if we thought that what happened in Vietnam where the average age of the soldiers was eighteen when it comes to children soldier in Africa and south Asia we are talking about kids that are ten eleven years-old, sometimes even younger and please remember that things like that happen this very moment I’m writing these words.

If anything else please try to imagine the eyes of this kids looking at you and please try to answer his question, why? And then please tell me when this never again will become true?

Click here to read last year's Red Hand Day article

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