Vol. 12, No. 2,856W - The American Reporter - March 18, 2006

The American Way

by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Lake Worth, Fla.

LAKE WORTH, Fla., Nov. 14, 2001 -- My guess is I'm not alone in feel= ing that swirling sentiments of war, anger, and sadness have turned my ethi= cal and moral compass into a Cuisinart of mush. I look at the tangled, sog= gy, mess and identify and retrieve only the chunks I like.

This is why I am becoming angrier and angrier about a declared "War = on Terrorism" which leaves a global blind eye to the true terror taking pla= ce daily against children. Now, don't forget that lame Cuisinart analogy (I know, in my mom's d= ay it would have been a Mixmaster, Waring, or Oster). I'm the same guy who = hardly blinked when Afghan Northern Alliance troops dragged, kicked, and fi= nally shot a suspected Taliban fighter to death. I had a clear vision of t= he World Trade Center and the Pentagon in my head when I read that rebel fo= rces pummeled Taliban bodies with mortar tubes, and shoved unexploded rocke= t launchers into their mouths. So much for the Geneva Convention. But in a blatant, visceral, and personal way kids are a different ma= tter. On a single day last week, in the same newspaper I read and re-read = these three stories:

  • . In Burundi (home of one of the worst post WWI= I ethnic wars and massacres) high school boys were being kidnapped from the= ir schools before graduation and hauled away by government thugs to be unsc= ripted for the latest tribal ethnic cleansing campaign.
  • . The goon-of-th= e-month running Sierre Leone proudly flogged his screaming 13-year-old daug= hter in the courtyard of her school for some unspecified disobedience. The= offense didn't seem to matter. The dictator just wanted to "set an example= and show that no one's child is above the law."
  • . The government of Zim= babwe, the former Rhodesia, cried to the international community that thous= ands of children will soon die because of massive famine spreading through = the land.

    I found the third story particularly outrageous and particularly lacking= in journalistic integrity. Nowhere in the article did the reporter mention= that the same Zimbabwe government had: looted, imprisoned, confiscated, ra= ped, tortured, and killed white ranchers and farmers after previously guara= nteeing their safety; arrested white citizens and some black supporters who= had armed themselves to protect their families from looters and squatters;= ordered the highest court to reverse previous decisions and allow the farm= s to be confiscated by squatters who often neglected or destroyed crops. Bu= t, hell, kids are starving. I wonder why. In the midst of the War on Terrorism and continued economic turmoil,= I filed all of this away and dumped it into that Cuisinart jar. No one car= es about my view of a world which ignores kids, especially since all of the= stories coincidentally came from Africa. Then came a dispatch from the AP over the Dow Jones News Service. O= fficials in Nigeria had detained suspected slave traders who were allegedly= shipping 200 people, perhaps 60 of them young children, to Cameroon and b= eyond, in a growing slave trade. After a brief international outrage a year or two ago I hadn't heard= much about the trade in kids, whose parents hoped they would have a better= life somewhere else. In reality they become the abused servants of others.= (See: Jean-Robert Cadet's gripping account of similar acts in Haiti, "Rest= avec" published last year by the University of Texas Press). The things which struck me as most inhumane about the Taliban regime= also involved kids. The kids whose moms were denied healthcare. The kids w= ho were denied any semblance of education. The kids who were denied fathers= and older brothers who were dragged off to die. It's just me and that damned Cuisinart thing. I know I'm vengeful. I= know I'm an Ugly American. I know I'm a bloodthirsty savage. But somewhere in that chopped, diced, and sliced morality is a true = fury against those who deny kids the right to sing and smile. That goes for= Afghanistan, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, or Cleveland.

    Regular columnist Mark Scheinbaum is a former UPI Newsman and political = science teacher, who is chief investment strategist for the Boca Raton, Fla= brokerage firm of Kaplan & Co.

    Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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