by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Lake Worth, Fla.
November 14, 2001
HOW ABOUT THE WAR AGAINST KIDS?
LAKE WORTH, Fla., Nov. 14, 2001 -- My guess is I'm not alone in feeling that swirling sentiments of war, anger, and sadness have turned my ethical and moral compass into a Cuisinart of mush. I look at the tangled, soggy 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 place daily against children.
Now, don't forget that lame Cuisinart analogy (I know, in my mom's day 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 finally shot a suspected Taliban fighter to death. I had a clear vision of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in my head when I read that rebel forces pummeled Taliban bodies with mortar tubes, and shoved unexploded rocket launchers into their mouths.
So much for the Geneva Convention.
But in a blatant, visceral, and personal way kids are a different matter.
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, raped, tortured, and killed white ranchers and farmers after previously guaranteeing 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 farms to be confiscated by squatters who often neglected or destroyed crops. But, 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 cares 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. Officials in Nigeria had detained suspected slave traders who were allegedly shipping 200 people, perhaps 60 of them young children, to Cameroon and beyond, 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, "Restavec" 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 health care. The kids who 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.
AR Correspondent Mark Scheinbaum is a former UPI Newsman and political science teacher, and chief investment strategist for the Boca Raton, Fla. brokerage firm of Kaplan & Co.