“Are we not human beings?”
There is something that happens when you watch a video of children sleeping in crowded hospitals to be safe from being abducted. Something begins to flicker and heat up when you learn about kidnapped children who are far past being traumatized, who have seen so much that it means nothing to witness death. Children who are forced to kill, who are abused in every way possible, who have no hope in their eyes. Something happens inside of you–a flame, an emotion, a spark–that won’t go away. And you know what? That’s good. That’s beautiful. That “something” means there is hope for humanity, that the world has not completely collapsed into the waiting, simmering hands of evil. That “something” is telling you that what The Lord’s Resistance Army is doing is completely and utterly wrong. “Fear is an understatement,” a man repeated several times throughout the video. When children would rather die than live, when people have absolutely nothing, when fear is an understatement–that’s when you know that something needs to be done.

There’s nothing okay about being apathetic about children accused of witchcraft, either. There’s nothing okay about writing, “You’re a witch,” on her friend’s arm while watching this video. Do people not realize that this is serious? Hundreds of children are being accused of witchcraft, resulting in abuse, abandonment, and even death. People believe in this crap that evil spirits are living in these children; “spiritual leaders” are performing exorcisms to acquire money from families that have nothing; it has spread to such an extreme that children are being tortured by their own parents. And some think that it’s a joke? No. That’s not okay.

____________________________________________

Maybe it’s too easy to learn about these disgusting issues and decide that Canadians should not get involved. “It’s Africa’s problems.” “I’m not the one that believes in witchcraft.” “There are big issues in Canada too.” And maybe they’ve got a point. But there’s something unsettling when Canadians, who may not think have a lot but do, refuse to help the less fortunate. There’s something wrong when the rich refuse to help the poor.
“Not helping is the same as hurting.” I’m sure we’ve all heard that before. The Lord’s Resistance Army continues to kidnap and abuse children and turn them into soldiers. We swallow and shake our heads. Nigerian communities abuse and torture children accused of witchcraft. We look at the ground and turn the other way.
Maybe there’s not such a difference as we’d like to admit.

* * *

This was a reflection I had to write in Psychology class after watching two videos about child soldiers and children accused of witchcraft. However, I didn’t write it only because it was homework. I wrote it because sometimes we need to step back and evaluate these injustices…and what we’re doing to stop them.

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