The camera lens focused in on a hallway where the sound of footsteps pounded onto the tile like drums. A young boy dressed in gray flannel fiercely paced back and forth furiously flinging his fists left and right. His eyes, crimson and swollen, scour the room whilst his jaw, edged as sharp as machete’s blade cuts into thick marshes of dust and air. At only ten years old, he suffers from disturbing hallucinations and has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. Although he was rescued by missionaries a year ago, the weight of the gun and the blood of his enemies still press against his chest. As each memory of war corrodes the lining of his heart; his body is strained by the simplest tasks of existence.
His battle is not unique to millions of children around the world who have also been subjected to the plight of war. I am able to neither fathom nor understand the impulses or desires that could compel an individual to consider the use of children as soldiers. Since children are a nation’s future, values instilled into each generation of children construct the moral fiber of a society. If hate and murder transform from taboos to facts of life, the state of a nation and its people are in jeopardy. When blood stains a nation’s sky, all splendor and optimism will wither away.
Teeming with a regressing and incensed generation, many countries are falling prey to the hands of mad men that are fixed and unaware of dead men’s cries. Theses majestic figures of war lie in place like mountains with height as a symbol of their command. Pride, an intense spirit, corrodes these peaks from within dissolving all sense of moral conscience. So transfixed in their positions they are willing to crucify the children, sending them into fields to uproot flowers for their sins. Ignoring the sanctity of life, they are consumed by fear of their inevitable erosion hurling thousands of lives to save their own.
I believe in peace. A single word that conjures up images of long haired drifters, summer flowers, and blue sky colliding. A word that is screamed from a distance but its echoes is only heard as small utterances. A word sketched onto life’s canvas but never painted. A word that seeps through the soil when blood floods a nation’s river banks more than rain. This simple word should be regarded as a task rather than duplicated as a mask. It is far too easy for the eyes to pretend that guns do not soil the flowers until there are dead flowers in our garden. Forcing children to fight is not only kidnapping them from their families and friends, it is also uprooting their freedom and identity.
By embracing a spirit of peace, we are embracing love. By ignoring peace, we are ignoring life. It is time for us to take up our rakes and uproot the weeds that cloud our unity.