Vol. 12, No. 3,009 - The American Reporter - October 19, 2006



The American Way
HOW ABOUT THE WAR AGAINST KIDS?

by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Lake Worth, Fla.

Printable version of this story

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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