The American Way
HOW ABOUT THE WAR AGAINST KIDS?
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=
On a single day last week, in the same newspaper I read and re-read =
these three stories:
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.