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Today is Remembrance Day. And it’s a special Remembrance Day -- the Armistice that ended the War to End All Wars came into effect exactly 100 years ago. At 11:00 a.m. on the 11thday of the 11thmonth of 1918 the guns fell silent.
If only we could say that they had stayed silent.
They haven’t. They’ve gotten more lethal. With the Second World War. Then with the Korean War and the Vietnam War, both of which I think of as outbreaks of the first World Civil War, with an incessant parade of people taking up arms against their own people. In Yugoslavia, in Rwanda, in Kashmir, in Sudan…
And then there are the eruptions where outside forces get involved in local conflicts: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen…
To mark this special anniversary, the Canadian Legion erected 240 crosses in Kelowna’s City Park -- one cross for each Canadian soldier from this area who died in the two World Wars.
I applaud their effort. But I think by focussing on the fallen, we miss something important.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: PTSD, Remembrance Day, armistice, war
“It ain’t over till it’s over,” New York Yankee’s famed catcher Yogi Berra once said. Berra may be right about baseball; he was wrong about wars. Wars don’t end when someone wins. They end only when the last generation of victims dies.
That’s what makes the recent UNICEF report on child victims so disturbing. Child victims will live longer than adult victims.
UNICEF’s statistics are staggering.
The deaths are bad enough: 700 children killed by conflicts in Afghanistan; 135 children forced to act as suicide bombers in sub-Saharan West Africa. But – pardon me for even saying this – at least they’re now dead. They won’t carry their experiences with them for the rest of their lives.
Not so the survivors. In Ukraine, 220,000 still play amid landmines and unexploded ordnances. In Yemen, 5,000 children have been injured by war against terrorist factions. In Myanmar, almost half of the 650,000 Rohinga refugees forced from their homes into Bangladesh are children. In the (grossly misnamed) Democratic Republic of Congo, 850,000 children have been driven from their homes.
Tags: rape, UNICEF, Somalia, Yemen, Congo, abuse, PTSD