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The bomb blast ignited the hut's roof. Flaming thatch fell into a foxhole full of cowering children. A young brother and sister died horribly, and six more children suffered terrible burns. These children were among the thousands of casualties of a months-long indiscriminate bombing campaign that the Sudanese government carried out in that country's southern Nuba Mountains this past spring -- supposedly to attack rebel guerrillas. We have yet to see a single report in Canadian media about this horror. The shocking absence of this story in our news highlights a worrying trend: the decline of foreign reporting.
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Every day we witness the power of young people to transform their communities and the world. The potential lost when a child is handed an AK-47 instead of a schoolbook or soccer ball is one of the greatest tragedies imaginable. But as governments stop recruiting children, over the past year militias and terror groups like the Islamic State, or ISIS, in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, have horrifyingly indoctrinated thousands more. And the way these militias use their children is changing in terrifying ways.
In today's wars -- no less destructive than others in history because they are undeclared -- how do we bring the fighting parties to the table? None of the usual diplomatic and military carrots and sticks are working. So what to do?
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With Mother's Day approaching, Farrow has a challenge for all of us living in comfort here, far from the struggles in central Africa. This Mother's Day, take a moment to think outside our own families. Make this Mother's Day not just about our own mothers, but about all the mothers of the world -- especially those faced with overwhelming adversity.
It's likely one-year-old Rana was malnourished the entire year she'd been alive, since aid hadn't reached the village in her lifetime. Doctors could do nothing by the time she was admitted to the field hospital just north of the Syrian capital of Damascus. She died within 24 hours of admittance. Rana was born, and died, during the civil war that is slowly attacking Syria's children. The people left in her ghost town of Moadamia are bargaining chips for the rebel Free Syrian Army, which refuses to relinquish control of the area long enough for humanitarian groups to distribute aid. For these children of war every aspect of their life has been diminished, or stolen.
More than 250,000 children under 18 are involved in at least 17 conflicts around the world today. In 2008 Romeo Dallaire, now a Canadian Senator, founded the Child Soldiers Initiative to raise awareness, pressure world governments to take action, and train police and military forces from around the world to protect children and prevent them from being recruited as soldiers.
They say a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado on the other side of the world. A fascinating new study, "The Arab Spring and Climate Change", essentially applies the "Butterfly Effect" to global current affairs, examining how climate change may have influenced the revolutions that rocked the Middle East.
Cluster bombs have been employed in at least 31 countries since the Second World War. Eighty-nine per cent of tens of thousands of cluster bomb casualties are civilians, a quarter of them children. Canada does not use cluster bombs, and was among the first to sign the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008. However, four years later Canada still has not ratified because of concerns how the Convention will impact our relationship with allies.
Charles Taylor's men dragged out a corpse, hacked it into four pieces then made the boys walk through the gore. Then they were forced to eat parts of the body. Taylor's men told the new recruits it was ancient tribal magic that would make them invulnerable to bullets.